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A patent is defined as the right “to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States” for a limited time in exchange for public disclosure of the invention when the patent is granted. The types of patent applications include: the utility (most common) and the provisional.
A provisional application lasts 12 months from the date the application is filed. It allows the term “Patent Pending” to be applied in connection with the invention. Provisional applications are not examined by the Patent Office and expire after 12 months.
A utility application (also called a non-provisional application) has more extensive filing requirements than a provisional application and is examined by the Patent Office. The application will provide a full patent, if allowed by the Patent Office. Patent protection lasts for 20 years from the date you apply for the patent.
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A trademark is a word, name, symbol, devise or other designation that is distinctive of particular goods or services and distinguishes from other goods or services. The original function of a trademark was to indicate the origin of the goods, by identifying the craftsman that made them. Today, Trademarks protect brand names or slogans and prevent others from using the same trademark or diluting the value of the trademark. Anything can be used as a trademark as long as it creates a distinct commercial impression. This includes: words, trade dress, and logos.