A patent is a property right of the inventor. The patent owner has the authority to exclude others from manufacturing, selling, or importing the patented invention. It is important to note here that a patent does not give the patent owner a right to make or sell the invention.
There are a variety of different types of patents. Each country has its own laws on the types of inventions that are deemed patentable. Below are some of the patent types available. For example, in the US, there are three types of patents: utility patents, design patents, and plant patents. A utility patent is granted for a process, a machine, an improvement, etc. A design patent is for a new design that is original and ornamental. A plant patent is for invented, discovered, and asexually reproduced plant varieties. In exchange of the patent, the inventor makes the details of their invention public. In China, the utility patent is known as an invention patent. China also has another type of patent, known as a utility model patent, which is not available in the US.
Patents are enforced according to the country where the infringement took place. Accordingly, inventors often choose to patent their inventions both in the country of manufacture and in their key markets. For example, if the product is manufactured in China and sold in the US and in the EU, then the inventor should consider obtaining at least a China patent, a US patent, and an EU patent.