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A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention, which is a product or a process that provides, in general, a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical solution to a problem.  

A patent provides protection for the invention to the owner of the patent.  The protection is granted for a limited period, generally 20 years.

Patent protection means that the invention cannot be commercially made, used, distributed or sold without the patent owner's consent.  These patent rights are usually enforced in a court, which, in most systems, holds the authority to stop patent infringement.  Conversely, a court can also declare a patent invalid upon a successful challenge by a third party.

Source: World Intellectual Property Organization 

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