Patents and Trademarks: Home

Information on finding patents and US trademarks


Welcome to the Patents & Trademarks Research Guide!

What is a Patent?

  • A grant of property right to the inventor.
  • A form of intellectual property that grants the owner "the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling" the invention".
  • The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) generally grants new patents a term limit of 20 years from the application date.
  • U.S. patent grants are effective only within the United States (including territories and possessions).
  • There are three types of patents:
    1. Utility: related to any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter
    2. Design: related to new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture
    3. Plant: related to any distinct and new variety of plant

What is a Trademark?

  • A word, name, symbol, or device that is used to distinguish products from other products.
  • May be used to prevent others from using similar marks, but does not prevent others from making the same goods. It is possible to acquire both a trademark and a patent.

For more information about Patents and Trademarks, read General Information Concerning Patents from USPTO.

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