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. 

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