A patent is a legal right granted by the United States government to an inventor, or to the inventor's assignee, to exclude (prevent) others from making, using, selling or offering for sale the invention described in the written "claims" portion of the patent document for a limited period of time. A patent protects an idea that is useful, novel (new) and would not have been obvious to one or ordinary skill in the relevant art at the time the invention was made. The patented idea is typically embodied in a product, a method for making a product, a method for conducting business, or a product manufactured by a particular process. A design patent protects the non-functional, ornamental features of a product. In general terms, a patent protects the structure and function of a product, while a design patent protects the appearance of a product rather than its function.