A trademark application will protect the identifying mark that is linked to your product or service. This protection prohibits others from using the same mark or a confusingly similar mark. However, this protection does not inhibit others from using the actual product or service itself. Trademarks can be used to protect the appearance from another Some examples of this would be names such as “Microsoft”, “24 Fitness”, and “The Walking Dead”.
A patent will protect your invention from being used by another individual. This is useful if you want to license your invention so others may use it or if you simply want to keep it to yourself. Some examples include Viagra, Intel CPU’s, and Seawater Desalination System (U.S. Patent No. 8834712)
A copyright protects the embodiment of your work, not the idea itself. For instance you could draw a picture of a bird and copyright it, but you cannot prevent others from drawing their own pictures of birds. You can however prevent others from using the image of your bird. Examples of copyrighted work include all the TV shows, movies, and pictures depicted everyday on TV or the internet.
A trade secret will only be protected by law, as long as . . . you keep the trade secret a secret. There are limited protections for trade secrets. For instance, these can be protected by non-disclosure agreements. Some examples of trade secrets include the recipe for Kentucky Fried Chicken or recipe to make the 23 different flavors of Dr. Pepper. Out of all the protections listed, the trade secret could potentially last the longest, but could also last the shortest.
On another note, after one hour of jury deliberation, Samsung was recently found to have infringed two patents owned by Rembrandt Wireless Technologies LP. Samsung is now liable to Rembrandt for $15.7 million.
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Don Nguyen at email@example.com