Today (20 May 2013) is the IPO sponsored 'Patent Research Workshop'. The event hosted by Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) will showcase three soon-to-be published reports from the IPO's Economic Research and Evidence team.
Patents protect the features and process that make things work. A patent can only be granted for something that is new and inventive. A patent has to be renewed every year but can last for up to 20 years.