How Do Patents Work?

Stop!
New inventors often misunderstand what patents are and how they work. The most common mistake is thinking that a patent lets you make your invention. What it really does, though, is let you stop somebody else from making or doing what’s listed in the claims of the patent.

If your patent claims cover your invention, then you’re in pretty good shape: you can stop somebody from knocking off your product. If nobody else has a patent to stop you, then the practical effect is the same: you’re the only person who can make or use the invention. But it’s important to remember that a patent can only stop somebody, it can’t give you any right to go.