Government issued or sponsored the technical reports are designed to quickly alert researchers to recent findings in scientific and technical research. Their purpose is to communicate results or describe progress of a research project; as background information on an emerging or critical research topic; to provide a list of instructions or procedures for current practices; to determine the feasibility of a technology; and finally, to detail technical specifications. They are intended to provide just a temporary snapshot of current research in a particular field or topic and are not peer-reviewd or edited, but they are more up-to-date than books and articles.
A patent is a government grant, for a set period of time, to exclusively make, use or sell, "any device, substance, method or process, which is new, inventive and useful".Patents play a major role in technological, economic and social change. Consider the many developments in mining, transportation, communication, building, agriculture, food production, photography and medicine over the last 200 years, that have been a consequence of patent protection.