Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights: The Basics

Have a brilliant newfangled concept that you ’ re sure will make you a fortune ? There ’ s a crucial step any inventor or artist should take before taking it to market : protecting it with a patent, trademark, or copyright from the politics .

All three provide a legal shield against copycats trying to make a buck off your mind ; however, each appointment applies to a particular type of cerebral property, so it ’ south authoritative to know the differences .

Key Takeaways

  • A patent is a property right issued by a government authority allowing the holder exclusive rights to the invention for a certain period of time.
  • There are three types of patents: utility patents, plant patents, and design patents.
  • A trademark is a word, symbol, design, or phrase that denotes a specific product and differentiates it from similar products.
  • Copyrights protect “original works of authorship,” such as writings, art, architecture, and music.

What Is a patent ?

A apparent safeguards an original invention for a certain period of meter and is granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office ( USPTO ). By granting the right to produce a product without fear of contest for the duration of the patent, an incentive is provided for companies or individuals to continue developing innovative modern products or services .

There are three types of patents : utility patents, plant patents, and blueprint patents .

Utility Patent

A utility patent covers the creation of a new or improved merchandise, work, or machine. besides known as a “ patent for invention, ” it bars other individuals or companies from making, using, or selling the creation without accept. utility patents are good for up to 20 years after the patent application is filed, but require the holder to pay regularly scheduled care fees .

While most people associate patents with machines and appliances, they can besides apply to software, business processes, and chemical formulations such as in pharmaceutical products .

plant patent

A plant patent protects a newly and singular implant ’ s key characteristics from being copied, sold, or used by others. It is besides good for 20 years after the application is filed. The plant must be asexually reproducible with reproduction being genetically identical to the master and performed through methods such as root cuttings, bulb, division, or grafting and budding .

Design Patent

A purpose apparent, on the other hand, applies to the unique look of a manufacture item. Take, for exemplar, an automobile with a classifiable hood or headlight shape. These ocular elements are separate of the cable car ’ randomness identity and may add to its value ; however, without protecting these components with a patent, competitors could potentially copy them without legal consequences .


The total number of patents issued in the United States in 2021. design patents issued since May 2015 final for 15 years from the date the apparent is granted and do not require care fees. Patents issued prior to that last for 14 years .

What Is a Trademark ?

Unlike patents, a trademark protects words and invention elements that identify the source of a intersection. Brand names and corporate logos are primary coil examples. A service mark is similar, except that it safeguards the provider of a service rather of a tangible adept. The term “ hallmark ” is frequently used in reference to both designations .

Some examples of hallmark misdemeanor are fairly straightforward. You ’ ll credibly run into trouble if you try to bottle a beverage and call it Coca-Cola or even use the celebrated wave from its logo since both have been protected for decades .

however, a brand actually goes a bit far, prohibiting any marks that have a “ likelihood of confusion ” with an existing one. consequently, a business can ’ thyroxine use a symbol or brand name if it looks similar, sounds exchangeable, or has a exchangeable think of to one that ’ mho already on the books, at least if the products or services are related. If the trademark holder believes there ’ s a violation of these rights, it may decide to sue.

What Is a Copyright ?

Copyrights protect “ original works of authorship, ” such as writings, art, architecture, and music. For a farseeing as the copyright is in consequence, the copyright owner has the sole right to display, share, perform, or license the material .

One luminary exception is the “ fair use ” doctrine, which allows some degree of distribution of copyrighted material for scholarly, educational, or news-reporting purposes .

technically, you don ’ t have to file for a copyright to have the nibble of exercise protected. It ’ sulfur considered yours once your ideas are translated into a real form, such as a book, music, or published inquiry ; however, officially registering with the U.S. Copyright Office before—or within five years of—publishing your knead makes it a set easier to establish that you were the original writer if you always have to go to motor hotel .

The duration of a copyright depends on the year it was created, as the laws have changed over the years. Since 1978, most compositions have been copyright-protected for 70 years after the writer ’ s death. After that time, individual works enter the public world and can be reproduced by anyone without license .

As a general rule, the generator retains possession of copyright privileges, even if the material is published by another ship’s company. There is an important exception to this principle, though .

Materials you create for your employer as separate of your job requirements, for example, contributions to a podcast the company publishes, are normally considered “ works for hire. ” The employer, not you, retains the copyright. If there ’ s a grey sphere, you can try to negotiate with the publisher over copyright ownership anterior to creating the piece ; just be certain to get it in writing .

What Is the Difference Between a Patent, Copyright, and Trademark?

A patent protects raw inventions, processes, or scientific creations, a hallmark protects brands, logos, and slogans, and a copyright protects master works of authorship .

What Are the 3 Types of Patents?

The three types of patents are design, utility, and plant. Utility patents are for modern discoveries, compositions of matter, machines, or processes. plant patents are for anyone that discovers or develops and asexually reproduces a new variety show of plant. A purpose patent is for anyone that creates a new, original, and ornamental design .

What Is Included in a Trademark?

A trademark includes words, phrases, designs, or any combination of these that particularly identify a good or service.

The Bottom Line

The decision to pursue a patent, trademark, or copyright depends on the type of intellectual place you ’ re trying to shield. Whether it ’ s a new intersection, logo, or creative make, registering your idea with the appropriate body can help ensure you enjoy the fruits of your labor .

source :
Category : Finance

Related Posts

How to Calculate Credit Card Interest Rates

interest rates are one of the ways to work out how much it will cost you to use your credit card, along with other charges and fees….

What debt collectors can & cannot do

If you are dealing with a debt collector, you have protections under the law. A debt collector must not mislead, harass, coerce or act unconscionably towards you….

Can You Afford a New Home? How to Determine Your Homebuying Budget

Can You Afford a New Home? How to Determine Your Homebuying Budget As with any major purchase, determining what you can afford before you look for a…

Why Did My Credit Score Drop?

Why Did My Credit Score Go Down When Nothing Changed? sometimes your mark does change based on factors outside of your control, but most times your behavior…

Why Do I Owe Taxes To The IRS & How To Avoid Them

Are you wondering why you owe indeed much in taxes this year ? Want to make certain you never owe a big tax bill – or any…

The 5 reasons why your credit score might suddenly drop

Select ’ s editorial team works independently to review fiscal products and write articles we think our readers will find useful. We earn a perpetration from affiliate…