areppim: information, pure and simple
a patent is an intellectual property right issued by authorized bodies to inventors to make use of, and exploit their inventions for a limited period of time (generally 20 years). Patents are granted to firms, individuals or other entities as long as the invention satisfies the following conditions: novelty, non-obviousness and industrially applicable. The patent holder has the legal authority to exclude others from commercially exploiting the invention (for a limited time period). In return for the ownership rights, the applicant must disclose all the information relating to the invention for which protection is sought. The disclosure of the information is thus an important aspect of the patenting system.
Source: Organisation For Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD): Compendium of Patent Statistics 2004.