A patent is a license that prevents others from making, using or selling an invention. This right is not forever. It normally lasts 14 to 20 years. Inventors can earn money from their patents by selling products that use them. But most inventors would rather make many new things than run a single business. So they often license this right to others in exchange for royalty payments. The payments can be arranged as a percentage of net revenues or of each product sold.
The inventor can also sell the patent itself. Though, in this case, the number of years remaining on the patent will be factored into the price.
Patents are issued by the government. The picture above shows a patent for one of the first motorcycles. Patents usually include detailed drawings like this. The goal is to fully show what your invention is and how it works. You can patent just about anything.
Points to remember:
- Patents protect your inventions from being used by others.
- This protection lasts for about 20 years, not forever.
- They can be sold or licensed to others for a fee.
- You must fully describe how your invention works.