A patent is a monopoly granted for a limited period of time by the United States government through its Patent & Trademark Office over the production and sale of an invention.  The patent does not turn the government into a policeman to enforce the patent.  It only gives the patent holder the right to use laws to prevent other persons from producing and marketing a similar device, and to recover damages and costs resulting from the sale of the infringing product.

There are three types of patents:  (1) a utility patent (the better mousetrap); (2) a design patent (Air Jordan basketball shoes); and (3) a plant patent (a new type of corn, for example).  

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