A patent (characterised as a personal property right) is a monopoly to exploit an invention which is granted to the patentee by a government for a limited period, in return for the disclosure (by way of publication of the patent specification) of the invention.
A patent may be granted for an article or for a process or method of manufacture. A patent confers on the patentee the right to prevent other people from using or otherwise exploiting the invention unless they are authorised to do so. The owner of a Chinese patent can, for example, prevent the manufacture or sale of a patented article in China, the export of the article from China and the importation of the article into China.
An invention must be new (novel) at its priority date (usually at the time of lodging the patent application). Generally, this means that any documentary publication of an invention, or sale of a product or use of a method embodying the invention precludes the obtaining of patent protection, both in China and elsewhere.