The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Patent \Pat"ent\ (p[a^]t"ent or p[=a]t"ent), a. [L. patens,
-entis, p. pr. of patere to be open: cf. F. patent. Cf.
Note: (Oftener pronounced p[=a]t"ent in this sense) Open;
expanded; evident; apparent; unconcealed; manifest;
He had received instructions, both patent and
2. Open to public perusal; -- said of a document conferring
some right or privilege; as, letters patent. See Letters
patent, under 3d Letter.
3. Appropriated or protected by letters patent; secured by
official authority to the exclusive possession, control,
and disposal of some person or party; patented; as, a
patent right; patent medicines.
Madder . . . in King Charles the First's time, was
made a patent commodity. --Mortimer.
4. (Bot.) Spreading; forming a nearly right angle with the
steam or branch; as, a patent leaf.
Patent leather, a varnished or lacquered leather, used for
boots and shoes, and in carriage and harness work.
Patent office, a government bureau for the examination of
inventions and the granting of patents.
(a) The exclusive right to an invention, and the control
of its manufacture.
(b) (Law) The right, granted by the sovereign, of
exclusive control of some business of manufacture, or
of the sale of certain articles, or of certain offices
Patent rolls, the registers, or records, of patents.
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
n 1: leather with a hard glossy surface