How does a trademark differ from a patent?

On Behalf of | Feb 3, 2022 | Business & Commercial Law

Intellectual properties include trademarks and patents. You may register and protect them through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. As noted by USTPO.gov, trademarks consist of symbols or words describing your brand, product or service. Patents reflect a unique invention or new process.

If you sell shoes, for example, your branding strategy may feature a phrase or logo. You could add these marks to your shoes and website so that customers identify your product and differentiate it from competitors. If you designed a new shoe model, a patent may cover the engineering and technical processes used in its manufacturing.

Why may I want to apply for a trademark or patent protection?

After creating a branding strategy, you may register it for trademark protection. You could register a brand name, logos, artwork, words and phrases. As noted by Forbes, trademark registration provides you the exclusive right to use your brand. With trademark registration, competitors may not copy your brand or use its related properties.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s website notes that you may file for patent protection if your design or invention is “new and useful.” The USTPO reviews patent applications for authenticity. The process could take up to 30 months. If approved, competitors may not distribute or manufacture your patented design for at least 20 years.

What rights do I have if someone uses my properties?

If you discover unauthorized use of your protected trademark or patent, you may file a lawsuit. To prove your case, you may show the court how a copycat brand resembles your trademark or product. The copycat needs to have caused enough confusion to result in customers purchasing it by mistaking it for your brand.

To protect competitors from copying your brand or product, you may file for trademark and patent protection. United States law protects your intellectual properties from unauthorized use and infringement.