Intellectual Property

Patents

A patent a property right granted to one or more inventors by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

The property right allows the patent owner “the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling” the invention in the United States and territories thereof.

Generally there are 3 different types of patents. The three different types are Utility Patents (most common), design patents and plant patents.

Utility Patents

A utility patent will be granted for any useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof. The term of a utility patent is generally 20 years from the filing date of the application for patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Design Patents

A design patent protects the exterior appearance of an article of manufacture and can overlap copyright and trademark protection. The term of a design patent is 14 years from the date of filing with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Plant Patents

A plant patent protects a species of plant created by an individual.  To qualify for protection, the plant must either have been invented or discovered in a cultivated state and asexually reproduced. The term of a plant patent is generally 20 years from the filing date of the application for patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Foreign Patent Protection

Patent protection similar in many respects to that of the United States is also available in virtually every country throughout the world.

Trademarks and Servicemarks

A trademark is any word, slogan, logo or device that is associated with the offer for sale of goods or services in commerce. A trademark indicates the origin of the goods or services and is used to distinguish goods and services from the goods or services of others. A trademark is associated with the sale of goods in commerce and a service mark is associated with the sale of services in commerce.

A trademark/servicemark is valid as long as the mark is continuously used in commerce.

Copyrights

A copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States to the authors of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works.