Definition of patent in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈpat(ə)nt/
Pronunciation: /ˈpeɪt(ə)nt/


A government authority or licence conferring a right or title for a set period, especially the sole right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention: he took out a patent for an improved steam hammer
More example sentences
  • Last year, the country was granted 146 U.S. patents for various technologies and products.
  • The present proceedings were initiated by the claimant, whose claim alleges that Process A infringes the patent in suit.
  • The number of issued software patents grew exponentially in the U.S. beginning in the early 1980s.
copyright, licence, legal protection, right, performing right, permit, privilege, charter, franchise, registered trademark


1ˈpeɪt(ə)nt Easily recognizable; obvious: she was smiling with patent insincerity
More example sentences
  • What seems to plague both of these films and so many like them is their patent insincerity.
  • What is a patent truism to one side is an obvious falsehood to the other.
  • The continued blind oversight of human rights abuses in conjunction with the blatant abuse of democracy is patent, and is incomprehensible.
obvious, clear, plain, evident, apparent, manifest, self-evident;
distinct, definite, transparent, overt, discernible, visible, conspicuous, blatant, downright, barefaced, flagrant, palpable, glaring, glaringly obvious, undisguised, unconcealed, unmistakable, unequivocal, unquestionable, undeniable
2 Medicine (Of a vessel, duct, or aperture) open and unobstructed; failing to close: the patient is usually left with a patent vessel
More example sentences
  • The renal artery, vein, and attached segment of ureter were patent and showed no evidence of tumor involvement.
  • The pancreatic duct and main branches were patent and grossly unremarkable.
  • Focal pressure was applied to temporarily occlude vessels that appeared to be patent.
2.1(Of a parasitic infection) showing detectable parasites in the tissues or faeces: there are a few recorded cases of patent infection in man
3Made and marketed under a patent; proprietary: patent milk powder
More example sentences
  • It benefits from a tax-free patent income scheme which allows it to retain earnings.
proprietary, patented, licensed, protected, branded, brand-name, own-brand, own-label, designer-label


[with object]
Obtain a patent for (an invention): an invention is not your own until it is patented
More example sentences
  • Ben has patented his invention and a Sheffield company has already shown interest in developing the device.
  • The doctors have patented their invention and say it could soon be available to all air passengers.
  • There can be tax advantages in patenting a product - income from a patent, can, in some cases, be tax-free.



Pronunciation: /ˌpat(ə)ntəˈbɪlɪti/
Pronunciation: /ˌpeɪtəntəˈbɪlɪti/
Example sentences
  • Potential anticancer drugs should be judged on their scientific merit, not on their patentability.
  • New plant or animal varieties are completely excluded from patentability.
  • In Europe, a public disclosure is an absolute bar to patentability.


Pronunciation: /ˈpat(ə)ntəb(ə)l/
Pronunciation: /ˈpeɪt(ə)ntəb(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • Ideas and natural phenomena were not patentable.
  • What is in public domain is not patentable.
  • If basic scientific findings were patentable, the tracing problem would be particularly acute.


Pronunciation: /ˈpat(ə)ntə/
Pronunciation: /ˈpeɪt(ə)ntə/
Example sentences
  • In order to protect the legal rights of the patentor, they carefully researched the petition of the company and suggested the face-to-face negotiation between company representatives.


Late Middle English: from Old French, from Latin patent- 'lying open', from the verb patere. The noun sense is from letters patent.

  • The word patent comes via Old French from the Latin ‘lying open’ from the verb patere. In early use it was found in the phrase letters patent, an open document issued by a monarch to record a contract or confer a privilege. It also meant more generally ‘open to view’. Use of the word to denote a licence to manufacture a commodity dates from the late 16th century.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: pa¦tent

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.