Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin patent-, patens, from present participle of patēre to be open — more at fathom
Date: 14th century
a. open to public inspection — used chiefly in the phrase letters patent
(1) secured by letters patent or by a patent to the exclusive control and possession of a particular individual or party
(2) protected by a patent ; made under a patent <patent locks> c. protected by a trademark or a brand name so as to establish proprietary rights analogous to those conveyed by letters patent or a patent ; proprietary <patent drugs> 2. of, relating to, or concerned with the granting of patents especially for inventions <a patent lawyer> 3. making exclusive or proprietary claims or pretensions 4. affording free passage ; unobstructed <a patent opening> 5. patulous, spreading <a patent calyx> 6. archaic accessible, exposed 7. readily visible or intelligible ; obvious Synonyms: see evident • patently adverb II. noun Date: 14th century 1. an official document conferring a right or privilege ; letters patent 2. a. a writing securing for a term of years the exclusive right to make, use, or sell an invention b. the monopoly or right so granted c. a patented invention 3. privilege, license 4. an instrument making a conveyance of public lands; also the land so conveyed 5. patent leather III. transitive verb Date: 1675 1. to obtain or grant a patent right to 2. to grant a privilege, right, or license to by patent 3. to obtain or secure by patent; especially to secure by letters patent exclusive right to make, use, or sell • patentability noun • patentable adjective
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.