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Business owners and executives in New York often have the need to protect sensitive information relating to their business or products from being used against them. This information is commonly referred to as intellectual property. It is not tangible but frequently represents the essence of what a company offers and its competitive edge. There are various protections available to companies specific to intellectual property and a patent is one type.

As explained by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, a patent does not so much give an inventor something as it prevents others from doing something. Specifically, a company with a patent will be the only one allowed to import, sell, use or make a particular item for the duration of the patent. Most patents last for 20 years from the date of the initial filing for the patent.

A patent may be granted for the development of or significant enhancement to a unique design, item, machine or process as well as for the creation of a new plant variety. The World Intellectual Property Organization indicates that there are very detailed requirements for what can be considered unique and therefore worthy of receiving a patent.

When applying for a patent, a company must provide the details of its invention as part of the application. During the time that the patent protection is active, the patent holder may license the patent to another party at their discretion. It is also the responsibility of the patent holder to defend the patent rights and initiate action against any entity that attempts to infringe on those rights.

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