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What is a Patent, Trademark or Copyright?

As an intellectual property attorney, I get asked what is the difference between a patent, trademark and copyright?

A trademark is one of the most important assets of any business. The more distinctive the trademark, generally, the more

A trademark is a word, phrase symbol or design (mark) that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods, phrase, symbol or design mark. The “source identifier” or trademark, distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.

A trademark can be a word, phrase, logo, tagline, or package design that identifies the source of goods or services for a business or brand. An example of a logo mark would be the McDonald’s arch. Similarly, a famous example of a word mark is the Big Mac. A well-known design mark would be the design of the Coca-Cola bottle.

How long does a trademark last?

A trademark does not have an expiration date, however you must renew the trademark after registration. A trademark must be renewed between the 5th and 6th year after registration and then once again after the tenth year. This filing provides proof to the trademark office that you are still using your trademark. If your business closes or you discontinue use, the trademark could be deemed abandoned from a legal perspective due to non-use.

So what is a patent?

A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention, which is a product or a process that provides, in general, a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical solution to a problem. To get a patent, technical information about the invention must be disclosed to the public in a patent application.

In principle, the patent owner has the exclusive right to prevent or stop others from commercially exploiting the patented invention. In other words, patent protection means that the invention cannot be commercially made, used, distributed, imported or sold by others without the patent owner’s consent.

How long does a patent last?
A patent lasts 20 years from the date of filing of the application.

What is a copyright?

A copyright is a type of intellectual property that protects original works of authorship, including music, novels, movies, photographs or even choreography. In the United States, a copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years.

A copyright is created as soon as the work is fixed in a tangible medium of expression, such as written down on paper, or recorded.

P.S. If you have any questions about securing a federal copyright or trademark, please contact Littlejohn Law Offices today to set up a discovery call!