A U.S. patent gives one the right to exclude others from making, using, offering to sell, or selling the patented invention in the United States, or importing the patented invention into the United States, for a limited amount of time.
A trademark is a word, name, phrase, design, smell, or sound used to distinguish one’s goods or services from those of one’s competitors.
A copyright protects architectural, artistic, musical, and literary works, including computer software, against copying.
A trade secret is information that derives independent economic value from not being generally known to and not being readily ascertainable by proper means by other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use, and is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy.
Our website contains general information about patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and unfair competition, and is intended to make the reader aware of issues in intellectual property law. Because there are exceptions to many, if not all, of the rules mentioned in this paper, and because laws and rules change frequently, the reader should discuss his/her/their particular situation with a patent attorney before making any decision regarding his intellectual property rights and responsibilities.