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Some types of Intellectual Property

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What is a Patent?  What is the process for obtaining a patent?

 A patent is the right to exclude others from (1) making, (2) using, (3) selling, (4) offering for sale, and (5) importing the claimed invention.  A patent is the grant of a property right from the United States Patent and Trademark Office to the inventor.  Generally the term of a new patent is twenty (20) years fro the filing date.

There are three (3) types of patents:

1. Utility patents may be granted to someone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof.  A utility patent may be filed as either a regular, (non-provisional) patent application or a provisional patent application.

2.  Design patents may be granted to someone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture.

3.  Plant patents may be granted to someone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant.

The patent laws specify the general field of subject matter that can be patented and conditions under which a patent may be obtained.  The statute provides that any person who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent.

However, laws of nature, physical phenomena, and abstract ideas are not patentable subject matter.  Also, a patent cannot be obtained on an idea or suggestion.  A patent application must disclose the inventors mode as to how the invention is made and used.

What is a Trademark or Servicemark?  What is the process for obtaining a registered trademark?

A trademark is a word, name, symbol, sound, or device that is used in trade with goods to indicate the source of the goods and to distinguish them from the goods of others.  A servicemark is the same, except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of the service rather than a product.

Trademark and Servicemark rights may be used to prevent others from using a confusingly similar mark, but not to prevent others from making the same or similar goods or services.  Trademarks and Servicemarks that are used in interstate or foreign commerce may be registered with the Unites States Patent and Trademark Office.