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PATENTS AND TRADEMARKS

General Patent and Trademark Sites

Definitions

A Patent is a grant from the U.S. government giving an inventor the exclusive right to make, use, or sell an invention in the U.S. for a limited time (up to 20 years from the time of application for a utility or plant patent, up to 14 years for a design patent). Design, Plant, and Utility patents are all granted. Consult the document General information concerning patents from the USPTO for more information.

A Trademark or Service Mark is a word, name, symbol, or device used to identify goods or services used in commerce; marks used in interstate or international commerce are registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Consult the USPTO document Basic Facts about Trademarks for more information.

A Trade or Service Mark used by a business only within a state's boundaries is considered a state, rather than Federal mark, and is usually registered with a state's Attorney General's office.

A Trade Name is just another name for a trademark or service mark.