1. Types of Intellectual Property
2. Patents
3. Copyrights
4. Trademarks
5. How Can You Patent a Product Name

How to patent a product a name is a common question that comes up when starting a new business or acquiring a new and innovative product. When discussing patents, you will often hear the term "intellectual property" that creates a broad reference to ideas and concepts that can be considered to be unique and hold some type of potential value.

The term is used as a way to identify which party or entity has actual ownership over the idea, concept, or invention. When you own intellectual property rights, it means you have the right to:

  • Manufacture the product or invention.
  • License others to use or manufacture the invention.
  • Use a specific distinguishing mark on packaging or in advertising.
  • To publish creative and original works of art.

Types of Intellectual Property

There are three primary types of intellectual property that can be protected. These include:

  • Patents.
  • Trademarks.
  • Copyrights.

Patents

Patents are rights to property granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. When granted a patent, the holder can prevent others from selling, using, or making a protected invention for a set period of time. If all fees are paid, and paperwork is properly filed patents can be in effect for up to 20 years from the original date of application. Exclusive rights of a design patent can be for up to 14 years. There are three types of patents that can be granted.

  • Utility patents — Utility patents will be granted for new, unique inventions for processes, machines, manufactures, a composition of matter, or an improvement to a previous invention.
  • Design patent — A design patent can be granted for an original ornamental design of a manufactured product. The protection extends to the appearance of the product instead of the functionality.
  • Plant patent — You can apply for a patent for the invention or discovery of an asexually reproducing plant that is new.

Copyrights

While patents protect inventions, processes, and designs, a copyright will protect both published and unpublished works that are original. This can include such pieces as:

  • Literature.
  • Music.
  • Art.
  • Architecture.
  • Software.
  • Choreography.

The copywriter owner will also retain exclusive rights which include the rights to:

  • Reproduce the work.
  • Make derivatives.
  • Distribute copies.
  • Display the work in a public setting.
  • Perform the work in public.

There can be some overlap between a copyright and a patent where an applicant may benefit from applying for both. This often occurs in the case of a design patent where the ornamental design will qualify as both a unique patentable design and a work of art that can be copyrighted.

Trademarks

A trademark is used to protect:

  • Words.
  • Phrases.
  • Logos.
  • Symbols.

It can also be used to protect other devices used to identify services or goods from the competition. A trademark will provide the owner the exclusive right to use an image, phrase or mark and prevent competitors from creating symbols that may be too similar as to cause confusion between brands.

How Can You Patent a Product Name

There are several steps you will need to take in order to patent your product name. You will need to:

  • Determine what you need — A name can either be protected through a trademark or a service mark. If creating a symbol for a product, you will need to come up with a trademark. If you will be providing a service, you will use a service mark.
  • Choose a name — Pick a name that will be memorable and easy to spell but not too common.
  • Perform a search — You will need to perform a search to see if the name has been protected in other trademarks. If you find one similar, it may be best to consider another.
  • Determine what your service class will be — Your filing fees and application process will have largely to do with the class of service that your name falls into.
  • Fill out and file your application — You will need to complete your application and send it in with the required fee. If not accepted, the fee will be refunded. It is possible for an application to be not approved over simple errors, so it is recommended to hire an attorney to assist.

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