Definition of patent in English:


Pronunciation /ˈpatnt/ /ˈpætnt/ /ˈpātnt/ /ˈpeɪtnt/

See synonyms for patent

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  • 1A government authority or license conferring a right or title for a set period, especially the sole right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention.

    Compare with letters patent

    • ‘he took out a patent for an improved steam hammer’
    copyright, licence, legal protection, right, performing right, permit, privilege, charter, franchise, registered trademark
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  • 2Patent leather.

    ‘designs in a wide range of textures featuring super-chic patent, soft suede, or sophisticated nappa’
    • ‘he wore black trousers and black patent shoes’


  • 1Easily recognizable; obvious.

    ‘she was smiling with patent insincerity’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I'm sorry, but this focus on ‘belief’ is patent nonsense.’
    • ‘Nice advertising slogan, but it's patent nonsense.’
    obvious, clear, plain, evident, apparent, manifest, self-evident
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  • 2Medicine
    (of a vessel, duct, or aperture) open and unobstructed; failing to close.

    ‘the patient is usually left with a patent vessel’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The woman must have at least one normal patent fallopian tube for successful interuterine insemination.’
    • ‘Gamete intrafallopian transfer can be used only in women who have at least one patent fallopian tube.’
    1. 2.1(of a parasitic infection) showing detectable parasites in the tissues or feces.
      • ‘there are a few recorded cases of patent infection in man’
  • 3attributive Made and marketed under a patent; proprietary.

    ‘patent milk powder’
    • ‘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
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transitive verb

[with object]
  • Obtain a patent for (an invention)

    ‘an invention is not your own until it is patented’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Sometimes, a company can protect its differentiation strategy by patenting its products.’
    • ‘In this country and in Europe you can go quite a long way towards patenting a medical treatment.’
    • ‘The contribution to earnings from the new patented product is likely to be evident in the medium-term.’
    • ‘For some, this wins time to persuade patients to switch to a newer, patented product.’
    • ‘Even drugs already on the market can face challenges based on newly patented genes.’
    • ‘The U.S. Department of Energy, which sponsored their work, has now patented the technology.’
    • ‘The company has patented various plant genes, which can only by used after signing a contract.’
    • ‘Even better, they've now patented the idea, so don't go around trying to copy it yourself.’
    • ‘Masterful with machinery, he patented several mechanical inventions which had varying degrees of viability.’
    • ‘He mysteriously disappeared during a train journey two years later, before he patented his invention.’
    • ‘His invention was patented on December 10, 1889, and the Parker pen was born.’
    • ‘After the Air Ministry turned him down he patented his idea himself in 1932.’
    • ‘The scientists of previous generations who refused to patent their breakthrough discoveries were neither naive nor saintly.’
    • ‘And if companies patent parts of the genome, they perhaps get exclusivity.’
    • ‘I find it so funny that some company patented a step.’
    • ‘He led the research and development of a unique and now patented coffee roasting process.’
    • ‘The cellular parts essential for genetic engineering are already patented.’


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