July 1, 2009
Patents are an important tool for protecting innovative products, uses or processes intended for commercialization. A granted patent provides a limited monopoly, normally for up to 20 years from the filing date of a patent application, giving a patent owner the right to prevent other parties from making, stocking, selling, using or importing the patented invention without the patent owner's permission. A theoretical ideal for an innovator would be to obtain a patent in all countries of the world. However, patents must be sought and enforced in each territory where protection is desired because a global patent does not (yet) exist. For cost reasons, a decision is usually made as to where to file and process patent applications.