A patent is the right to the exclusive use of an invention for a specified period of time, for profit (industrial or commercial), on the territory of a given country or countries, granted by a competent state, regional, or international body (e.g. the Patent Office of the Republic of Poland).
What does this mean in practice? The patent protects the patent holder against unlawful use of the invention, as well as against ‘theft’ by competitors. In addition, patents for inventions are assets (personal or business) that can be sold, bought, or licensed and can thus be a source of income.