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:
- Utility: related to any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter
- Design: related to new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture
- 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.