A utility patent is a type of patent that applies to new or improved processes, machines and types of matter, explains the US Patent and Trademark Office. Some types of inventions covered by utility patents include a photocopier, a computer program, a car tire and medication, according to Nolo.
A utility patent gives the patent holder sole rights for creating and selling the patented invention, explains the US Patent and Trademark Office. This exclusivity period can last for 20 years after the patent is first registered. However, a utility patent can be revoked if the patent holder fails to pay the necessary filing fees and maintenance fees during the life of the patent.