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A patent grants an inventor or its assignee the right to exclude third parties to use, sell, make or import a given invention within the jurisdiction of the patent.

The primary requirements for an invention to be patented are that it is novel, is non-obvious (comprises an inventive step) and is useful in an industrial application. Such an invention can be a composition of matter (e.g.  a medicinal compound), a machine (e.g. a medical device) or a process (e.g. a method for producing a vaccine). As a rule, the duration of the protection provided by a patent is 20 years from of the date of filing, subject to the payment of maintenance fees. Under some circumstances, the patent term for medicinal products can be extended to 25 years.
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