IP:   Your house, your car, and your civil rights are controlled and protected by laws.  YOUR IDEAS ARE NOT; not, that is, until you communicate them.  Ideas are intellectual property, and only when they are communicated, translated into writings, or realized in tangible objects do legal rights and obligations arise.
   NO ONE is obligated to communicate ideas. But keeping them to yourself does not serve mankind.  Patenting your idea is a way to protect your intellectual property and contribute to the common good.  The authors of the U.S. Constitution understood this and empowered Congress
   “to promote the Progress of Science and the Useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to  Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”
      A patent for an invention is a grant of a property right by the Government to the inventor acting through the Patent and Trademark Office.  The term of a patent is 20 years from the date an inventor first applies for the patent subject to the payment of appropriate maintenance fees.
   A patent is a “contract which gives the inventor “the right to exclude others from making, using, or selling” the invention during a limited time period.  What is granted is not the right to make, use, or sell, but the right to exclude others from making, using, or selling the invention.  The inventor must provide a full public disclosure of information about the invention.