A patent is a limited term monopoly granted for an invention. An invention is not merely a new and non-obvious idea – the idea must be coupled with means of making it work. The invention may be a product, a method of making a product, or a process for producing a new physical effect.
The monopoly granted by a patent is in return for a description of the invention in such detail that it can be worked by a third party after the monopoly expires or lapses.
A standard patent is granted only after substantive examination and has to be kept in force by the payment of annual fees, some of which are payable prior to grant. An innovation patent, the future of which is decidedly uncertain, is granted without substantive examination, but can be enforced only after a substantive examination and certification. Again, annual fees must be paid to keep it in force.
If you have an invention in mind and wish to pursue it, it is very advisable that searches be undertaken prior to seeking patent protection or use (even if you do not intend to seek protection) as a third party may have already sought or obtained protection for, or have published details of, the same, or a very similar, invention.