Both a patent and a trademark protect a business’ intellectual property in two distinct ways.
According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office a trademark is, by definition “a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.” The words “trademark” and “brand” are almost synonymous, and you can protect your trademark or brand by acquiring the associated trademark rights. A registered trademark allows its owner to prevent other businesses from using a confusingly similar trademark.
It is important to keep in mind that trademark law only protects the trademark itself and does not protect any other inherent aspect of the goods or services themselves. For this, patents are necessary.
Patents and patent law are used to protect inventions. For example, a utility patent protects inventions that are useful and non-obvious in light of what has been done before. If a business’s goods or services include an invention, a patent may be used in addition to a trademark. In fact, it is common for businesses to seek both trademark and patent protection for a given product or service.
To accomplish this, both a trademark and patent application need to be filed separately with the US Patent and Trademark Office. If successful, the trademark registration will allow its owner to stop others from using a similar trademark and the patent will allow its owner to stop others from making, using or selling the invention associated with the product or service.
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