COPYRIGHT - A "copyright" protects the originality or artistic content of a book, music, painting, photograph, screen play, etc. Click HERE for more information about a copyright.
DESIGN PATENT - A "design patent" is a patent Click HERE to view more information. which protects only the appearance of an article.
PATENT - A "patent" is a document issued by a national government granting the patentee the exclusive right to manufacture, use or sell the invention described in the patent for a prescribed interval of time. After that interval of time has expired, the invention is "on the public domain", which means that it is free for anyone to use without payment to the patentee. Click HERE to see more information on patent and patent application information.
PATENT APPLICATION - A "patent Application" is a document which a person files with a national government requesting that a patent be granted covering a particular invention. Filing a patent application allows you to mark your device "Patent Pending", which will tend to scare off competitors and, in my opinion, is of greater value than actually having a patent.
PROVISIONAL PATENT APPLICATION - A "provisional Patent Application" is a relatively new form of protection for inventions which is very simple and inexpensive to file and which allows the owner to use the term "Patent Pending" for a period of one year. However, a Provisional Patent Application CANNOT become a patent, expires at the end of one year and CANNOT be renewed or extended. Click HERE for more information on provisional patents
UTILITY PATENT - A "Utility Patent" is what one usually means when they use the term "patent". Utility patents protect the structure and function of the invention defined by the claims of the patent, which are the numbered paragraphs at the end of the patent.
TRADEMARK - A "trademark" is the name of a product made by a particular person or company. Thus, "Chevrolet" is the trademark for some of the automobiles made by General Motors, Inc. Click HERE for more information on trademarks.
TRADE NAME - A "trade name" is the business name of the person or organization making and/or selling a particular product. "General Motors, Inc" is the "trade name" of the company. Trade names are registered by the state in which the person or company is based. In California, the California Secretary of State's office registers trade names and they can tell you, on the phone, whether or not a desired name is available and how to register it.
TRADE SECRET - A "trade secret" is anything which the disclosing party desires to keep secret. Trade secrets usually include such things as the manufacturing details for a product, variations or alternative uses.