Get exclusive use of words, phrases, or designs
Protect original, creative works of authorship
Protect your new inventions or processes
A trademark gives owners exclusive use of words, phrases, or designs that identify, distinguish, or point to the origin of a good or service, as defined by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The recognizable symbols, slogans, and names we use to identify companies—for example, a certain fruit and a world-renowned tech company— are registered trademarks.
Trademark protection is based on use, rather than creation. This is a notable difference between patent and trademark protections and is the core of understanding copyright vs patent vs trademark protections, which will be discussed further in the patent and copyright sections. Being based on use means that if you are the first to use a trademark to identify your services or products, you have ownership of that trademark. Although this seems fairly straightforward, it is important that you ensure that you have thorough protection of your trademark.
As mentioned above, trademarks are based on use, which means that if you use it first but have not registered it, you are by default granted some protections through common law ownership. However, these protections are limited to your geographic areas. Moreover, if someone infringes upon your unregistered trademark, it becomes very difficult for you to defend your ownership in court, and will likely cost a significant amount of time and money to ensure that you can retain ownership of your trademark.
Moreover, because these protections are so limited, they may prevent further collaborations and expansions that may benefit your business. Not properly protecting your trademarks risks major liabilities further down the road that may significantly harm your business.
To avoid all those dangers, it’s important to federally register your trademark with the USPTO. Before doing so, however, it is important to know if the trademark you are planning on using is both available and suitable for your company. The most efficient way of doing this is to consult a trademark attorney. The first idea you have for your trademark might violate USPTO guidelines or be too similar to other companies’ trademarks. In fact, Trusli itself went through several iterations of trademarks before finding one that was suitable, able to be protected, and unique to our company. Consulting a trademark lawyer was vital to this process, and saved us a lot of frustration and liabilities down the road.
On this page, you will be able to find a credible trademark lawyer you can consult for a fraction of the cost. Moreover, we will be able to match your specific need beyond just a general IP lawyer— a patent vs trademark vs copyright attorney all play different roles, and we will help you connect with a lawyer that is most suited for you.
Being able to consult a trademark lawyer and registering your trademark properly also ensures that you will be able to effectively protect your trademark if someone is infringing on it. This page can also match you with an affordable lawyer if you are looking to defend your trademark. Trademark lawyers will assist you with cease and desist letters, lawsuits, and any other action necessary to defend your trademark.
Taking legal action against infringement is absolutely vital, as not enforcing or using your trademark will lead to “abandonment,” in which you will lose legal standing to your trademark. This is an instance where it is important to differentiate between the laws surrounding trademark vs patent protections, as trademarks can be “abandoned” even after registration has been completed. Thus, if you feel that your trademark is being violated, use this page to look for legal help as soon as possible.
A copyright protects the exclusive legal right to any type of original, creative works of authorship. A copyright differs from a patent or a trademark because copyrights technically exist from the moment they are created and do not need to be registered to be protected. However, registering your copyright is still very important and highly recommended for a number reasons. If your copyright is registered, you will be able to bring a lawsuit for infringement, have evidence of your copyright on public record and in a certificate, and your copyright will be eligible for statutory damages and attorney fees.
Who should seek a copyright? A copyright, as mentioned above, primarily protects original works— specifically, original works of authorship as soon as an author “fixes” the work in a tangible form of expression. The “original works of authorship” refer to books, movies, academic papers, architectural drawings, software codes, music, art, and more. Thus, if you are an author of any of these types of work— a writer, a researcher, an architect, a musician— you should seek a copyright to protect your work. If you find that any of these apply to you, we can help you find an affordable copyright lawyer that will meet your needs and help you protect your work.
Copyright and patent protections are often confused because they both target works created by a person. The distinguishing factor is that copyrights primarily protect creative works, while patents protect inventions and processes. Copyright vs patent vs trademark protections differ primarily due to the types of IP they are protecting; therefore, the type of protections you need will differ depending on what type of IP you would like to protect.
The first step towards sufficient protection is registering your copyright. Doing so allows you to take further legal action in case anyone is violating your copyright. Keep in mind that specific legal action for copyright vs patent vs trademark, so it’s worth consulting a copyright lawyer to determine what steps would be best for you.
A patent protects new inventions or processes. A copyright and patent function relatively similarly— a patent gives someone an exclusive legal right to that invention or process, and has the right to prevent others from making, using, or selling the patented product. There are three types of patents: utility, design, and plant. Utility patents are the most common, covering processes, the composition of matter, machines, and new and useful manufacturers. Design patents protect a specific unique design of an object. A plant patent protects new and distinctive plants.
Although both are registered at the USPTO, they two are not interchangeable, and it’s important to note the differences between a patent and a trademark. Patents and trademarks protect different things: a patent protects new inventions or processes while a trademark protects identifiers of a business, good, or service. Patent and trademark protections also differ. Trademark protections are based on use, while patents must be registered and generally favor inventors, rather than whoever first used them.
In order to obtain a patent, you must ensure that your invention or process is new, non-obvious, and useful in a patentability search. It may also be necessary to research whether or not your patent is valid (an invalidity search) and if other patents may cover similar inventions and processes (a clearance search). These searches can be done by the person seeking the patent themselves or a patent lawyer. These searches will ensure that when you do go through the arduous process of filing a patent, your chances of success are much higher. They’ll likely also help you avoid future infringement issues.
The journey to get a patent— from the research to filing an application— is a long-winded and complicated process. The key to successfully and effectively obtaining a patent is by getting a patent lawyer with domain expertise. Domain expertise means that your lawyer will have the required level of depth and breadth of qualifications to help you protect your invention or process.
We’ve already discussed why research before filing a patent is vitally important despite its complications, and patent attorneys who specialize in this are key to making sure your research is thorough, relevant, and completed as quickly as possible. The application process itself is also strenuous, taking up to 22 months to get approved. It’s best to have an experienced patent attorney to assist you on this journey, especially to avoid further legal complications. You can find an experienced patent application attorney that is both affordable and suited for your needs on this page. The processes for obtaining trademark vs copyright vs patent protections all differ, but one main similarity is that investing the time and resources into getting an IP lawyer will pay off significantly in the long run.
Once your patent is granted, if you find that someone is attempting to make, use, sell, offer to sell, or import your invention or process without your permission, you have the legal right to stop them. The first step is a cease and desist letter that demands they stop. If they don’t stop, you may sue them in federal court and obtain a court order for the infringer to stop along with awarded damages from infringement. If the infringer still persists, the court may award you up to three times the damages along with attorney fees. Patent prosecution is a very different legal specialization than patent application, and if you are searching for a lawyer to help you protect your invention, this page can also help you.
Once again, although the processes for protecting a copyright vs patent vs trademark differ, getting all of them registered and protected with the help of a high quality attorney is the most sound and effective method of protecting your IP, and will pay off by helping you avoid future legal entanglements. This page will match you with not only the most qualified and affordable attorneys but the ones most suited to help you. We wish you the best of luck on your IP journey.
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