Study Guide


      A copyright is a law (title 17, U.S. Code) that protects the authors of "original works of authorship." A few of the items protected include literary, musical, artistic, dramatic and other intellectual works. Published and unpublished works are covered by this law. Exclusive rights are given to the owner under Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act. Copyrights are registered by the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress.


      For an invention, a patent is the grant of a property right to the inventor. The term of a new patent is 20 years from the date on which the application for the patent was filed in the US or, from the date an earlier related application was filed. This is also subject to the payment of maintenance fees. US patent grants are only effective within the US. The owner of a patent has "the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling" the invention in the US or "importing" the invention into the US. The patent grants only the right to "exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, selling or importing the invention." A patent is issued by the Patent and Trademark Office.


      A trademark, is "a word, name, symbol or device which is used in trade with goods to indicate the source of the goods and to distinguish them from the goods of others." A trademark does not identify or distinguish the source of a service. Trademark rights only prevent others from using a similar mark. A trademark does not prevent others from producing the same goods or from selling the same goods or services under a clearly different mark. 
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