What's the Difference Between a Patent and a Trademark?

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what is the difference between a patent and a trademarkAre you developing or inventing a product or service and require a patent or trademark? We here at Harvard Business Services are asked about them quite often. In this blog, we will help you learn the difference between a patent and a trademark. We'll also address when you need to apply for a patent or trademark, when the renewal fees are due, and how to apply for each. Unfortunately, Harvard Business Services is NOT able to assist with the application.

First, we will help you by defining the difference between a patent and a trademark.

A patent, as defined by the United States Patent and Trademark Office website, is: “a property right granted by the Government of the United States of America to an inventor “to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States” for a limited time in exchange for public disclosure of the invention when the patent is granted.”

A trademark, as defined by the United States Patent and Trademark Office website, is: “a brand name.  A trademark or service mark includes any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used or intended to be used to identify and distinguish the goods/services of one seller or provider from those of others, and to indicate the source of the goods/services.”

Now that you understand what a patent is and what a trademark is, next you should know when you need to apply for a patent or trademark and when the renewal fees are due.

An inventor must file a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office within one year of the first day on which the invention was described in a printed publication, in public use, or on sale to preserve the rights to have a United States patent. The maintenance fees for a patent must be paid 3 ½ years, 7 ½ years, and 11 ½ years after the patent is granted.

There is no timeframe for when you should obtain a trademark, but you must file a renewal to maintain it. The first filing is between the fifth and sixth years following registration. The second filing is between the ninth and 10th years and then every 10 years thereafter.

For more detailed information on how to obtain the application forms and to apply for a patent or trademark, please visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office website.

 

Image Attribution: Wikipedia

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