Copyright, Patent, Trademark – what’s the difference?

Ask M & M is a feature in the Sierra Vista Herald every Monday. Business questions are answered by Cochise SBDC Director, Mark Schmitt. The following is a questions regarding copyright, patents and trademarks.

Dear M & M: I am confused. Explain the differences between copyright, patent and trademark? –Will

Dear Will: According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, “A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design or a combination of words, phrases or symbols or designs that identifies and distinguishes the source of goods of one party from those of others. A service mark is the same as a trademark except it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product. A copyright protects original works of art or literary work and a patent protects an invention.” The United States Patent and Trademark Office information can be accessed at the following web site; “There are three types of patents. Utility patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof. Design patents may be granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture. Plant patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant. Since the rights granted by a U.S. patent and trademark extend only throughout the territory of the United States and have no effect in a foreign country, an inventor who wishes patent and trademark protection in other countries must apply for a patent and trademark in each of the other countries or in regional patent or trademark offices. Almost every country has its own patent or trademark law, and a person desiring a patent or a trademark in a particular country must make an application for patent or trademark in that country, in accordance with the requirements of that country.” In addition, each state has their own rules and regulations regarding registration of marks and trade names in Arizona questions regarding any issues can be directed to Secretary of State Business Services Trade Names and Marks. A number to call is (602)542-6187 or 1-800-458-5842 (state of Arizona only). The registration of trade names and marks is not legally required in Arizona, but is an accepted business practice. Source: USPTO an agency of the Department of Commerce and Arizona Department of State office of the Secretary of State

To ask your questions: Call the Small Business Development Center(SBDC) at Cochise College (520) 515-5478 or email or your local SBDC.

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