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The United States Patent and Trademark Office issues patents to protect an inventor's exclusive right to profit from his or her own ideas. For a fixed, non renewable period of time, the inventor can exclude all others from making, using, or selling the invention without authorization. To receive a patent, an invention must be new and useful or significantly different from previous inventions of its type. The government currently issues three types of patents: utility, design, and plant patents. To learn more, see these pages from USPTO: