Trademarks

A form of protection given for a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of goods or services. A trademark (or service mark) provides you with the exclusive right to use the mark in connection with the goods or services you designated. This is particularly beneficial if you are attempting to be the vanguard in a particular product or service.

Patents

A patent is a limited duration property right given to an invention for a machine, manufacture, process, composition of matter, asexually reproduced plant, or for an ornamental design.

The right given is a negative property right, meaning that others cannot make, use, sell, or import your invention for a period of time.  If others were free to use the invention, then the competition in the industry comes down to which company is able to market more efficiently, and smaller companies usually struggle to compete with large corporate entities.

As of 2013, the United States of America is a first to file country.  This means that if you invent something and not file a patent application, another person could independently invent the same invention and they could file a patent application on the invention.  Therefore, time is a very critical factor!

To file a patent application, one must be the inventor themselves, or a registered patent practitioner.  A registered practitioner is one who is specifically credentialed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office to represent others before the Patent Office in patent matters.

You can search for registered patent practitioners here:  https://oedci.uspto.gov/OEDCI/practitionerSearchEntry

Copyrights

A form of protection given for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. A copyright is available for original works such as literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works.  This could include such items as:

  • A novel or other book
  • Articles
  • Essays
  • A thesis
  • Poems
  • Songs
  • Movies
  • Films
  • Computer Software
  • Architecture
  • Photographs
  • Plays
  • Dramatic Works
  • Sculptures
  • Paintings
  • Designs