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Understanding Patents, Trademarks and Copyrights

leonardo-davinvi-art-inventionPatents, trademarks, and copyrights are together called the intellectual property and commonly apply to the rights correlated with knowledge or notions that are intangible. If an organization has developed or in process of developing a product that it will later roll out in the market, considering intellectual property is essential. It also shields the name of the organization and its identity. However, it is important to comprehend the contradictions and how a patent, copyright, or trademark search can be done.

What is a Patent?

A patent is a property right granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). A patent holder may exclude others from using, making, or selling an invention for a limited time. There are three types of patents: utility, design, and plant. As long as the applicant pays the applicable maintenance fees, the exclusive right to utility and plant patents lasts for a term of 20 years from the application date. The exclusive rights granted for a design patent lasts for 14 years from the date of the grant.

One of the best examples of a patent is the telephone which was invented by Alexander Graham Bell who got it patented in 1876.


Alexander Graham Bell Patents the Telephone

But the question arises, how can one look for patents that are already registered?  At the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website, an individual can conduct an online patent search in order to know if someone already has a patent on a product, process or concept that you’re thinking about.

How to Register a Patent?

In order to register a patent, one requires filing a patent application with the USPTO.  At the USPTO website, this patent application can be filed online for your convenience. By the type of filing, the price of a patent application can alter however the complete fee schedule can be seen at the website.

What is a Trademark?

A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. A service mark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than goods. Some examples include brand names, slogans, and logos. The term “trademark” is often used in a general sense to refer to both trademarks and service marks.

For example, the trademark “Coca-Cola” drawn in flowing handwriting by Frank M. Robinson became a distinctive and unique trademark for the company and it has now become one of the most recognized scripts in the world.


The World Famous Coca-Cola Trademark

How to Perform a Trademark Search to Determine if it’s Already Registered?

In order to perform a trademark search to know whether it’s already registered or not, there are several levels and sorts of searches. A person can do a free online trademark search on the USPTO website, though this will only display federal trademarks that are already present or dropped and pending trademark applications that are precisely similar to the word or phrase typed by the person. State and common law trademarks are a good option, too.

There is an online trademark search tool  known as Trademark Explorer™, which employs superior screening features and logic and displays newly filed trademark applications, active registrations, and canceled and vacated trademarks to the person. With its help, a person can also have the admittance to the state trademark data that is very current. However, a person is required to perform a professional trademark search so that they can receive a complete view of federal, state and common law marks that advance ahead precise matches.

How to Register a Trademark?

In commerce, the moment a person uses a name or logo Common law usage begins, i.e. using the ™  symbol. However, there is a restricted protection for common law marks. To begin the process of registering a trademark, a person must undertake a filing with the USPTO. The cost is $375 per class for paper filings and for electronic filings $325 per class. A person can start using the ® symbol after their registration has been approved.

What is a Copyright?

Copyright grants the creator of original work exclusive rights for its use and distribution. It protects published and unpublished original works, including works in literature, music, art, architecture, software, and choreography. The copyright owner has exclusive rights, including the right to reproduce, make derivatives, distribute copies, display the work in public, or perform the work publicly.

Some examples of works eligible for copyright protection are Novels, musical, graphic, and sculptural works; Motion pictures and other audio-visual work, for instance, Harry Potter.


Harry Potter Book & Movie Series Author JK Rowling

How to Search for Copyrights Already Registered?

Just like patents and trademarks, to do a copyright search in present times is easy. You can simply do it by having a Google search for specific text or works and Google will display whether the searches are already present or not.

How do You Register a Copyright?

Copyright law presents benefits to those who have filed a legal copyright, however, copyright registration is not entirely required. Filing a copyright with the United States Copyright Office costs $35 for an online filing. Paper filings range from $50 to $65.


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