A patent is an industrial property right for an invention that is valid for a certain period of time. The owner of the patent can prohibit others from using the invention. The legal framework varies somewhat from region to region.
The purpose of a patent is to disclose the invention, in return for which ownership is granted. In the U.S. jurisdiction, there is a distinction: The utility patent for a property right on a technical invention, and the design patent a property right on shapes and patterns.
An international patent application (also called a “WO application” or “PCT application”) uses the provisions of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (abbreviated as “PCT”). PCT applications have the format “WO yyyy/…”.
The legal basis in the strict sense for an international patent application is the “Patent Cooperation Treaty of the World Intellectual Property Organization” (WIPO).