February 27, 2014

Can You Trademark An Invention?

by randymichels


In my last post, I said that one of the first questions we get asked about federal trademark applications is "how much does it cost?" We also often get asked about the differences between trademarks, patents, and copyrights.

A trademark protects brand names and logos used on products and services. A patent protects an invention. A copyright protects works of authorship, such as writings, music, and works of art that have been tangibly expressed.

To illustrate the diffences between these different forms of intellectual property, let's consider my colleague Bill Ferrell's motorized, adjustable standing desk a/k/a MEGA DESK:

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If Bill had invented his standing desk, then he would apply for a patent to protect the invention. He would apply to register the MEGA DESK trademark to protect the brand name of the standing desk. Finally, he might register a copyright for the instruction manual showing the right and wrong way to use the standing desk:

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So to answer the question posed by the title of this post: Yes, you can register a trademark to protect the brand name of an invention. The trademark registration may be used to prevent others from using a confusingly similar mark, such as MEGGAH DESK for standing desks. The trademark registration, however, will not stop others from selling standing desks under a clearly different mark. The trademark registration will also not prevent others from making the same standing desk in the absence of any patent protection.

The lawyers at Trademarkology provide online trademark registration services backed by the experience and service of one of the nation's oldest law firms. Click here to begin the process of protecting your brand name with a federally registered trademark.