Utility Patent
  • A new, useful, and non-obvious process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new, useful, and non-obvious improvements
  • Grants the right to make, use, sell, import
  • Protected 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
  • Grants the right to make, use, sell, import
  • Protected 20 years from date of filing
Design Patent
  • A new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture; the appearance of a functional object
  • Grants the right to make, use, sell, import
  • Protected 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
  • Grants the right to exclusive use
  • Valid as long as the business uses it in commerce, and renews it every 10 years.
Copyright
  • Original works of creative expression fixed in any tangible medium, such as writing, software, music, a recording or work of art, photograph, motion picture, or choreography
  • Grants the right to copy, perform, distribute, adapt, display
  • The term of copyright for a particular work depends on several factors, including whether it has been published and, if so, the date of first publication. As a general rule, for works created after January 1, 1978, copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years. For an anonymous work, a pseudonymous work, or a work made for hire, the copyright endures for a term of 95 years from the year of its first publication or a term of 120 years from the year of its creation, whichever expires first. For works first published prior to 1978, the term will vary depending on several factors.
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
  • Grants the right to exclusive use
  • Trade secrets are protected without registration, that is, trade secrets are protected without any procedural formalities. Consequently, a trade secret can be protected for an unlimited period of time.