A United States’ patent is a government issued monopoly that gives the patent owner the right to stop others from making, using, selling, offering to sell, or importing into the United States the claimed invention. Currently, the patent monopoly lasts for 20 years from the earliest effective filing date. (Patents for applications filed prior to June 8, 1995, that were not refiled as a “continuation” after June 8, 1995, have a term of 17 years from the issue date.) A patent owner is not obligated to practice his claimed invention, but if he does, he must meet certain marking requirements.


A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or combination thereof, that identifies and distinguishes goods and services. They may be obtained by filing for federal registration, which entitles the user to us ® once the certificate is issued. It may also be obtained on a limited basis by filing for protection in the state of use or simply by using the name on the goods in commerce.


Copyright subsists in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. It gives the owner the right to reproduce the work in copies, prepare derivative work, distribute copies, publicly perform audiovisual works, display audiovisual works, and perform sound recordings by digital audio transmission.


A tradesecret is any valuable business information that the owner seeks to keep confidential.
Disclaimer:  This glossary is for information purposes only.  It is not legal advice and is not intended to create an attorney-client
relationship. Any decision to obtain legal advice should not be based solely on this information.  Also, please be advised that
because of certain time limitations the law imposes upon anyone who wishes to pursue a matter, you should promptly consult with
a lawyer in person regarding your matter if you choose to proceed.