How Do Trademarks and Patents Differ?

By filing for and obtaining a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, an inventor is granted a monopoly on the use and commercial exploitation of the invention described in the patent for a limited time. 

In United States patent law, utility is a patentability requirement. As provided by 35 U.S.C. § 101, an invention is "useful" if it provides some identifiable benefit and is capable of use.

While there are several types of patents, the most common is the utility patent, which protects the functional features of a machine, process, manufactured item, composition of matter, or new use for any such items.

Although trademarks are used to advertise and sell patented goods and services with a unique brand name, this is a very different type of protection than covering the “utility” of the good or service.

Trademarks protect branding while patents protect the actual use or method employed by the good or service that make it desirable or useful to consumers.

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