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Black’s Law Dictionary 1st Edition, page 878:

PATENT, adj.  Open; manifest; evident; unsealed. Used in the sense in such phrases as “patent ambiguity,” “patent writ,” “letters patent.”

PATENT. n. A grant of some privledge, property, or authprity, made by the government or sovereign og a country to one or more individuals. Phil. Pat. 1.

In English law. A grant by the sovereign to a subject or subjects, under the great seal, conferring some authority, title, franchise, or property; termed “letters patent” from being delivered open, and not closed up from inspection.

In American law. The instrument by which a state or government grants public lands to an individual.

A grant made by the government to an inventor, conveying and securing to him the exclusive right to make and sell his invention for a term of years.  Atlas Glass Co. v. simonds Mfg. Co., 102 Fed. 647, 42 C. C. A. 554; Societe Anonyme v. General Electric Co. (C.  C.) 97 Fed. 605; Minnesota v. Barber, 136 U. S. 313, 10 Sup. ct. 862, 34 L. Ed 455; Pegram v. American Alkali Co. (C.  C.) 122 Fed. 1000.


Black’s Law Dictionary 7th Edition, page :

patent (pay-tant), adj. Obvious; apparent <a patent ambiguity > . C f. LATENT.

patent (pat-ant), n. 1. The governmental grant of a right, privilege, or authority. 2. The official document so granting. – Also termed public grant. See LETTERS PATENT.

call patent. A land patent in which the corners have been staked but the boundary lines have not been run out at the time of the grant.

land patent. An instrument by which the government conveys a grant of public land to a private person.

lapse patent. A land patent substituting for an earlier patent to the same land that lapsed because the previous patentee did not claim it.

3. The exclusive right to make, use, or sell an invention for a specified period (usu. 17 years), granted by the federal government to the in­ ventor- if the device or process is novel, useful, and nonobvious. 35 USCA §§ 101-103.

“What, exactly, is a patent and how does i t operate t o foster the ‘progress of the useful arts’? In its simplest terms a patent is an agreement between an inventor and the public, represented by the federal government: in return for a full public disclosure of the invention the inventor is granted the right for a fIxed period of time to exclude others from making, using, or selling the defIned invention in the United States. It is a limited monopoly, designed not primarily to reward the inventor (this may or may not follow), but to encourage a public disclosure of inventions so that after the monopoly expires, the public is free to take unrestricted advantage of the invention.” Earl W. Kintner & Jack L. Lahr, An Intellec­ tual Property Law Primer 7-11 (2d ed. 1982).

basic patent. A patent granted to an inven­ tion recognized by industry or the scientific community as pioneering, unexpected, and unprecedented. – Also termed pioneer patent.

combination patent. A patent granted for an invention that unites existing components in a novel way.

design patent. A patent granted for a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture; a patent that protects a prod­ uct’s appearance or nonfunctional aspects.

Design patents – which, unlike utility pat­ ents, have a term of only 14 years – are similar to copyrights.

fencing patent. A patent procured in an effort to broaden the scope of the invention beyond the article or process that is actually intended to be manufactured or licensed. Cf. DOUBLE PATENTING.

paper patent. A patent granted for a discov­ ery or invention that has never been used commercially. • A paper patent receives less protection under the law than a patent grant­ ed for a device that is actually used in indus­ try.

pioneer patent. See basic patent.

plant patent. A patent granted for the in­ vention or discovery of a new and distinct variety of asexually reproducing plant.

process patent. A patent for a method of treating specified materials to produce a cer­ tain result; a patent outlining a means of producing a physical result independently of the producing mechanism. • The result might be brought about by chemical action, by ap­ plying some element or power of nature, by mixing certain substances together, or by heating a substance to a certain temperature.

reissue patent. A patent that is issued to correct one or more errors in an original patent, as to revise the specification or to fix an invalid claim. • A reissue patent replaces the original patent and lasts for the rest of the original patent’s term. 35 USCA § 251. – Sometimes shortened to reissue.

“[R]eissue patents are relatively rare, because the push and pull of the patent prosecution process tends to make the claims both accurate and as broad as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will allow.” Stephen Elias, Patent, Copyright and Trademark 278 (1996).