What is a trademark or service mark?
–A trademark is generally a word, phrase, symbol, or design, or a combination, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.
–A service mark is the same as a trademark, except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than goods. Throughout this booklet, the terms “trademark” and “mark” refer to both trademarks and service marks.
Do trademarks, copyrights, and patents protect the same things?
No. Trademarks, copyrights, and patents protect different types of intellectual property. A trademark typically protects brand names and logos used on goods and services. A copyright protects an original artistic or literary work. A patent protects an invention. For example, if you invent a new kind of vacuum cleaner, you would apply for a patent to protect the invention itself. You would apply to register a trademark to protect the brand name of the vacuum cleaner. And you might register a copyright for the TV commercial that you use to market the product.
For copyright information, go to www.copyright.gov. For patent information, go to www.uspto.gov/patents.
To help evaluate your overall awareness of intellectual property knowledge and to provide access to additional educational materials based on the assessment results, please use the Intellectual Property Awareness Assessment tool, available at http://www.uspto.gov/inventors/assessment/.