Patent Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How to Use It

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If you conjure up a new invention, you may want to consider applying for a patent (ˈpæt.ənt, pætənt) to stop others from copying, manufacturing, or selling your creation. Wondering what a patent is? We can help with that. 

Read on as we explore the word patent to uncover its definition, origin, synonyms, and more. 

What Is the Definition of Patent?

The Cambridge English Dictionary says that the noun patent can be defined as a type of intellectual property that gives the owner of that property the official legal right to be the only person or company allowed to make or sell an invention for a particular number of years. 

According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (or USPTO for short), there are three different types of patents:

  • Utility Patent — covers processes, compositions of matter, machines, and manufacturers that are new and useful
  • Design Patent — the surface ornamentation of an object, which can include the configuration or shape of an object
  • Plant Patent — obtained to protect new and distinctive plants

To obtain a patent, technical information about the invention must be disclosed to the public in a patent application. 

Additionally, the Collins English Dictionary tells us that when a patent is used as a transitive verb, our word of the day means to obtain the exclusive rights to something by a patent.

When used as an adjective, on the flip side, the word patent means very obvious. For example, you might refer to a lie as patent (“a patent lie”). 

With these definitions in mind, here are some of the derived forms that come from the word patent:

  • Adverb — pat·ent·a·bly
  • Noun — pat·ent·a·bil·i·ty
  • Adjective — pat·ent·a·ble
  • Adverb — pa·tent·ly

What Is the Origin of the Word Patent?

Middle English patent — first noted in the late 14c. — derives from Old French patente, as well as the Latin patentem, which itself is the present participle of patere.

What Are the Synonyms and Antonyms of Patent?

Do you remember learning about synonyms and antonyms back in grade school? These tools can help you to better remember the new words that you’re trying to learn while expanding your existing vocabulary. 

To refresh your memory, synonyms are words or expressions that have the same — or almost the same — meaning as another word of expression. In contrast, antonyms are words or expressions that have the opposite meaning of another word or expression. 


  • Letters Patent 
  • Copyright
  • Apparent
  • License
  • Self-evident
  • Obvious
  • Clear
  • Right
  • Permit
  • Privilege
  • Plain
  • Manifest
  • Evident
  • Franchise
  • Charter


  • Ambiguous
  • Concealed 
  • Hidden
  • Indefinite
  • Vague
  • Unlimted
  • Unclear
  • Inconspicuous

How Can You Use Patent in a Sentence?

There are many ways you can use our word of the day in a sentence. Not sure how? Here are some great sentence examples below:

I’ll be honest, ever since you told me that you worked in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, I have been curious about what your daily routine looks like. 

We learned about the history of patent law in school today.

After unlawfully taking my design, I decided to hire a lawyer to sue for patent infringement.

You are totally fine; as long as you can prove they came out with their product after your patent application was filed, all is well.

I think you need to hire a patent attorney to draw up that kind of official document.

That may be true, but what you are completely unaware of is that we already have a patent pending for that specific product, and you will be happy to know that the filing date is well before your release date! 

I wore patent leather shoes to the recital yesterday.

Did you know that if a product comes off-patent, then the period of time for which someone had the patent for it ends?

I was unaware of the maintenance fees we would have to pay when filling out the patent paperwork.

Should I get a patent on my new invention?

I’m aware of the more common patented inventions that we use daily. What I truly want to learn about are the more obscure types of patents. 

What Are Translations of Patent?

Seeing as our word of the day can be used as both a noun and a verb, it’s not surprising that there are a number of ways to correctly say patent. 

Translations of patent as a noun:

  • American English — patent 
  • Brazilian Portuguese — patente 
  • Chinese — 专利
  • Italian — brevetto 
  • Arabic — البراءات
  • Japanese — 特許
  • Dutch — octrooi
  • Finnish — patentti
  • British English — patent
  • Korean — 특허권
  • European Portuguese — patente 
  • Spanish — patente 
  • Thai — สิทธิบัตร
  • Bulgarian — патент
  • European Spanish — patente 
  • French — brevet 
  • Vietnamese — Bằng sáng chế
  • Italian — brevetto
  • Greek — πατέντα
  • German — Patent

Translations of patent as a verb:

  • Italian — brevettare 
  • Japanese — 特許を取得する
  • Korean — 특허권을 얻다
  • European Portuguese — patentear 
  • American English — patent 
  • British English — patent
  • Brazilian Portuguese — patentear 
  • Chinese (simplified) — 获得专利
  • European Spanish — patentar 
  • French — faire breveter 
  • German — patentieren
  • Spanish — patentar 
  • Thai — ได้รับสิทธิบัตร


After reading this article, we can conclude that a patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention — which could be either a process or product that provides a new way of doing something or offers a new solution to a problem. 

So if you ever create an incredible invention that is sure to be a hit, don’t forget to seek out an experienced attorney to help you with a patent. If you don’t get a patent, then you essentially have no legal ownership over your invention. 


PATENT: definition | The Cambridge English Dictionary

Patents | WIPO

Patent definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary.