Do you need a patent or trademark? Small business owners are often confused by intellectual property terms. Often they will ask, ‘can I file a trademark to protect my invention?’ Watch this video to learn the proper terms and what they mean.

Patent or trademark protection?

Read the transcript:

Today, we’re going to answer your question: Do you need patent or trademark protection? First, you may be wondering what is the difference between a patent and a trademark?

Now it’s really important that you keep these two concepts separate, because tehy are different areas of the law. If you call up an attorney for help, you don’t want to say “I need a patent for my business name” or “I need a trademark for my invention.”

Do you need a patent or trademark attorney?

First, you may be calling the wrong attorney. If it’s just a trademark attorney, they may not be able to help you with a patent. If it’s a patent attorney, they may not be taking on any trademark cases, or may charge you more than a trademark attorney.

Some attorneys will handle both patent or trademark matters.

But let’s start by explaining “What is a trademark.” Now a trademark is going to protect your product name, or a name of a service. For example, I have a trademark for “IPATENTATTORNEY” for intellectual property law services.

So a trademark protects your brand. Like STARBUCKS. That’s the name of their coffee product. That’s the name – it’s a registered trademark.

ALLSTATE is a trademark of the insurance company – it’s a registered trademark for insurance and insurance services.

So what is a patent? A lot of the time people will come to me and ask if they can get a patent for their idea. The answer is no. It has to be an invention.

What’s the difference you might ask – patent or trademark? I might have an idea to make my car fly over the traffic during rush hour. It’s just an idea, because I have no idea how to make it work.

An invention is an idea that I know how to make work. You don’t have to have actually made it, but you need to know how to make it, or explain it to someone so that they can build it or implement it.

You don’t need to built or make your invention before filing a patent application, but you do have understand (and be able to convey to someone) how to build and implement your invention.

I hope that answers your question “What’s the difference between a trademark and a patent?” A patent protects an invention (not an idea). A trademark protects the name of a product or service (your brand).