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Patent, a government grant to an inventor of the right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention, usually for a limited period. Patents are granted for new and useful machines, manufactured products, and industrial processes and for significant improvements of existing ones. Patents also are granted for new chemical compounds, foods, and medicinal products, as well as for the processes used to produce them. In some countries patents can be granted even for new forms of plant or animal life developed through genetic engineering.


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