Mechanisms of Intellectual Property Protection

Intellectual Property Protection MechanismDefinition of Protection MechanismProtection Rights GrantedTerms of Protetction
Utility Patent new, useful, and non-obvious process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new, useful, and non-obvious improvements to make, use, sell, import 20 years from date of filing, subject to payment of maintenance fees
Plant Patent a distinct and new variety of plant invented or discovered and asexually reproduced to make, use, sell, import 20 years from date of filing
Design Patent new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture; the appearance of a functional object to make, use, sell, import 14 years from date of grant
Trademark a word, name, slogan, symbol, or device that is used in trade to indicate the source of goods and to distinguish them from the goods of others exclusive use 20 years from date of filing, subject to payment of maintenance fees
Copyright original works of creative expressionfixed in any tangible medium, such as writing, software, music, a recording or work of art, photograph, motion picture, or choreography to copy, perform, distribute, adapt, display 20 years from date of filing, subject to payment of maintenance fees
Trade Secret information such as a formula, pattern, process, or device that is not generally known, which a company keeps secret to for its own advantage exclusive use as long as it can be kept a secret