A patent is a government grant of exclusive control, for a set period of time, over the knowledge necessary to implement processes or to produce objects that are useful and innovative and that represent more than an obvious extension of existing technology. If others want to use the knowledge covered by a patent, they must obtain permission from the patent holder, who may charge a license fee for such use. The patent holder may instead deny use, leaving exclusive control with the patent holder. Ethical questions about patents include the following: Is granting patents a morally justifiable or morally required legal practice? Are there some things that ought not to be patentable? Are there practices related to the exploitation of patent exclusivity that are ...

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