Intellectual Property Rights Guide

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Patents stimulate private investment in new, useful and non-obvious technological information (inventions) through the granting of exclusive property rights to the patent holder. 

1. What is a patent?

 The subject matter of patent is the invention or discovery of any new and useful process, machine, manufacture or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement of a previously existing process, machine, manufacture or composition of matter.  Patents may also protect ornamental features (designs) rather than the function of articles.

Examples of Trademarks

· Words:  Ford's "MUSTANG" for automobiles  [U.S. Reg. No. 1467208];

GM’s “IMPALA” for automobiles  [U.S. Reg. No. 0661322].

· Designs:  American Racing Equipment’s design for the Torq Thrust wheel
[U.S. Reg. No. 2805037]

· Designs: Chrysler's "Pentastar" design for automobiles
[U.S. Reg. No. 0801717]


A trademark is a name, logo or other feature used by a company to identify itself as the source of a product or service.  If established properly, trademarks can be a means to establish legal rights prohibiting competitors from using the same distinguishing features and identifiers.

1. What is a trademark?

 Trademarks have a common meaning to many people but they also have a more legalistic meaning which is helpful in understanding trademark rights.  A trademark is:

Introduction to Intellectual Property Rights

All businesses have tangible assets: buildings, machines, and accounts receivable.  Companies have intangible assets too: trademarks, patents, copyrights, reputation, and goodwill.  These intangibles sometimes defy valuation, but may be worth more than the building and machines used to make a company’s product. 

Intellectual Property Rights Guide

SEMA is pleased to provide our members with the following information about trademarks, patents and copyrights.  The ideas, names, logos and inventions of your company are valuable property and often can be legally protected for your exclusive use.  The overview materials (below) will familiarize you with the basics on this topic so that you may take advantage of the law on patents, trademarks and copyrights.

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