Patents, Copyrights, Trademarks

Intellectual property law prevents other people from stealing your ideas, company logo, product designs and business methods.

What is Intellectual Property? a) Works b) Ideas c) Business Name d) Logo e) Inventions f) Discoveries

Patent: A Patent grants its owner the right to exclude other businesses from making, using, offering for sale, importing or selling the patented invention in the US. Anyone can obtain a US patent regarding of age or citizenship. Patent protection lasts 14-20 years depending on the type of patent. Patents can cost thousands of dollars. You will need help from a patent attorney. For more information visit the US Patent and Trademark Office at

What can be patented? Any man-made products or the processes for making such products can be patented. You can patent: a) Process b) Machine c) Manufacture d) Composition of matter

Trademark: A Trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, color or design that identifies the source of consumer goods or services. You don’t have to register your trademark in your area, but you may want to register with the US Patent and Trademark Office. Trademark registration lasts for 10 years and you can renew it for an indefinite number of 10 year periods. A Trademark is valid as long as it is used in commerce and defended against infringement.

Copyright: copyright protection applies to original works of authorship in tangible form. Tangible means that it can’t simply be in your head, it must be physically available to other people, like a book or a DVD. Copyright registration is not necessary, but it’s a very good idea. Copyright notices and registration are inexpensive and good for the life of the creator plus 70 years after your death, or 95 years from the creator’s publication or 120 years from creation of the work, whichever is shorter. You can register your copyright with the Register of Copyrights in Washington, D.C. online at

Examples of copyrighted material: a) Literary works b) Musical work c) Dramatic works d) Pantomimes and choreographic work e) Architectural works f) Pictorial, graphic and sculptural works g) Motion pictures and other audiovisual works h) Sound recordings i) Computer programs For additional information regarding patents, trademarks and copyrights contact the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) at