Protecting an Invention
The protection of the rights on inventions, processes, formulas and designs corresponds mainly to the Patent regime. Patents are part of the Intellectual Property regime, where you can also find: copyrights; trademarks; and trade secrets. These 4 fields are related, but not the same. Each one protects different aspects of human creations.
Patents protect functional and useful aspects (plus designs and plants). So they protect things like inventions, formulas, concepts and designs. They will collectively be "inventions" for the purposes of this article.