COMPARISON OF PATENTS, TRADEMARKS, COPYRIGHTS AND TRADE SECRETS

With respect to our example of the new golf club:

  • Utility patent protection can be sought on the new composite, the method of making the composite, the method of making the head, and club head per se;
  • Design patent protection can be sought for the new shaft decoration and on the non-functional design features of the club head;
  • Trademark, state, and/or federal protection can be sought for the mark “SLAMMER”;
  • Federal copyright protection can be sought for the instructions for using the new club;
  • Common law copyright protection may exist for the instructions for using the new club; and
  • Trade secret protection may exist for the manufacturing know-how.

The chart below provides brief descriptions of attributes of various options for protection of intellectual property assets.

COMPARISON OF PATENTS, TRADEMARKS, COPYRIGHTS AND TRADE SECRETS

Form of Protection Utility Patent Plant Patent Design Patent Copyright Trademark or Service Mark Trade Secret
What is Protected Machine, process, composition of matter, new products Asexually reproduced plant variety Ornamental design for an article of manufacture Writings, music, works of art Words, names, symbols, devices Any confidential information of commercial or personal value
Test for Protection New, useful and unobvious Distinct and new variety of plant New, ornamental and unobvious Originality Distinguish and identify services or goods of one source from those of another (1) Is it a secret and (2) does owner protect the secrecy
How are Rights Obtained Grant of patent by U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) Grant of patent by the PTO Grant of patent by the PTO Upon creation of work (1) Through actual use, or (2) registration in PTO By identifying and treating the information as confidential
Life of Protection 20 years from the filing date; enforceable from date of publication; periodic payment of maintenance fees is required 20 years from the filing date; enforceable from the date of issue 14 years from date of grant Life of the author plus 70 years -or- 95 to 120 years for anonymous works (1) Perpetual with proper use (2) 10 years, renewable if use continues Indefinite while information remains confidential
Test of Infringement Make, use or sell product or process covered by patent claims Asexually reproduce or use the patented plant Substantial similarity of design as a whole Copy substantial portion of the work Likelihood of confusion, mistake or deception as to origin of goods or service Misappropriation
DAUGHERTY & DEL ZOPPO CO., L.P.A

Daugherty & Del Zoppo Co., L.P.A. is a firm of intellectual property law practitioners that provides high-quality legal services to both businesses and individuals. Our practitioners have experience in all areas of intellectual property law, including patents, copyrights, trademarks, plant patents as well as protection rights registrations, trade secrets, and unfair competition and technology law. We have extensive experience in preparing and prosecuting patent applications; preparing non-infringement, invalidity, freedom to use, and opposition opinions; and protecting assets through negotiating and enforcing licensing, assignment, trade secret, confidentiality, and other business agreements.

CONTACT US FOR LEGAL GUIDANCE

Daugherty & Del Zoppo Co., L.P.A
38500 Chardon Rd., Willoughby Hills, Ohio, 44094
Phone: (440) 391-5100
E-mail: info@DD-IPLaw.com