A patent is a set of exclusive rights granted by a state (national government) to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for the public disclosure of an invention.
A granted Patent gives the owner a monopoly to an invention and entitles the owner to prevent others from exploiting it. In most countries, Patents can last up to 20 years and they are available in all technological fields, from engineering to software and biotechnology.
As an inventor it is important to secure your rights in return for the time and money put in by you in lieu of your invention.
Patents are registered rights. To obtain patent protection it is necessary to file an application with a detailed description of the invention and explain how it will work. Drafting a patent application requires considerable care and skill. Before a patent is granted the application must be first searched by the Patent Office to see what has already been published in the same field, it then it goes through the stage of examination.
It is worth pointing out that to get a patent granted, an invention must be new, that is, not previously published or sold or obvious to a person skilled in the art. It can be a product itself or a process or method for making the product and must be capable of being applied industrially.
New ideas in themselves are not patentable. You must be able to describe how the idea will be implemented in practice.