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Patent & Trademark Resources: Basics

Topic Overview

Patents and trademarks are kinds of Intellectual Property (IP). Below is a simple representation of the relationship.


What is Intellectual Property?

Intellectual property refers to the creations of the mind: inventions; literary and artistic works; and symbols, names and images used in commerce. It consists of two categories: Industrial Property and Copyright.

Industrial Property includes patents for inventions, trademarks, industrial designs and geographical indications. Copyright covers any original work of authorship - literary works (e.g. novels, poems, plays), films, music, artistic works (e.g. drawings, paintings, photographs, sculptues) and architectural designs.

What is a patent?

A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention - a product or process that provides a new way of doing something, or that offers a new technical solution to a problem. A patent provides patent owners with protection for their inventios. Protection is granted for a limited period usuallly 20 years. Patent owners are obliged to publicly disclose information on their inventions.

What is a trademark?

A trademark is a distinctive sign that identifies certain goods or services produced or provided by an individual or a company.

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