Q: What Is the difference among copyright, trademark, and patent?
A: The purpose of a copyright is to protect authors of original works, including literary, musical and artistic forms of expression, both published and unpublished. It gives the author the exclusive right to use the works. For information contact the U.S. Copyright Office at www.copyright.gov.
A trademark is a word, name, symbol, logo or device that distinguishes one business's products from another's. While Trademarks may be used to prevent others from using similar marks and does not prevent them from making the same type of product and marketing it under a different name. Trademarks may be registered with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. For more information contact them at www.uspto.gov.
Patents for inventions are issued by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. A utility patent for inventions with movable parts is good for 20 years from the date the application is filed. Design patents are effective for 14 years. The patent is good only in the United States, its territories and possessions.
Essentially the patent grants "the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale or selling the invention in the United States or importing the invention into the United States." (Excerpted from General Information Concerning Patents, U.S. Patent & Trademark Office web site www.uspto.gov)
Although there may be similarities among these three types of intellectual property, each serves a different purpose. While the web sites mentioned herein are useful, it is wise to consult with an attorney familiar with the application process.
The volunteer counselors with SCORE Naples can assist you with management issues facing your small business. Counseling is free to all U.S. citizens and legal aliens. To register call 430-0081 or go to http://tinyurl.com/43aqelw.
Gray Poehler is a volunteer with the Naples Chapter of SCORE, Counselors to America's Small Business. If you would like an answer to your question, please fill out the form located at http://naples.score.org/mentors . A counselor will contact you within 48 hours. Please include your name, email address and a contact phone number.