What is the exclusive right obtained by a granted patent?

A patent grants a negative right, namely the right to prohibit the use of the invention by a third party. The patent owner can stop a third party from operating under the scope of the claims by taking legal action against this party.

Note that a patent does not confer to the owner the right to apply the invention. The owner of the patent may himself be subject to intellectual property rights of others. This is illustrated here by an example.

Alfred Nobel filed an application on his invention of dynamite (submitted May 7, 1867 and published as US 78317). This granted patent ensured him the right to exclude others from using this invention. However, the patent did not necessarily allow him to exploit the invention. First, there would be civil laws to take into account which could restrict the use of dynamite. Moreover, it is possible that the use of the invention was also restricted by third party rights.  For instance, a third party patent on the nitroglycerin which he used for the production of dynamite, may have prevent him from freely producing the dynamite.

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