Home • Firm Profile • Contact • Confidentiality • Site Map • FAQS

The Law Office of Joan I. Norek

        Intellectual Property

            Chicago, Illinois

                                                    w w w . n o r e k l a w . c o m

       

 

Trademarks

Trademarks Directory
About Trademarks
More on Trademarks
Why Protect a Trademark
Trademarks vs Patents
Trademark Infringement
Trademark Internet Issues
Trademark Weight
Trademark Myths
TM Searches - Basic
TM Searches - Corporate
TM Pre-filing Assessment
About TM Registrations
Registration Process Outline
TM Registrations - Standard
TM Registrations - Corporate
TM Stand. Registration Order
Naming & Branding
About Domain Names
Names as Trademarks
Slogans
Oppositions
Cancellations
Trademark Consultations
On-Line Order Searches

 

 

Patents

About Patents
Why Patent It
Public Domain vs Patents
Patent Term
Patent Myths
Internet Issues
Inventors and Assignees
Patent List
Patents Directory
Chemical  Patents
Patent Fields Guide
Patent Search - Basic
Patent Search - Corporate
On-Line Order - Searches
DIY On-Line Patent Check
Patent It or Not
About Patent Applications
Meaningful Patent Protection
Patent Application Outline
Application - Corporate
Application Entry-Costs
Application Examination
Disclosure Documents
Provisional Services
About Provisionals
Provisional vs Non-provisional
Provisional - Attorney Prepared
Provisional Replacement
Patent Consultations
Patent vs Trade Secret
Trade Secrets after Patent Filing
Patents vs Trademarks
Patent Interferences
Patent Infringement
Patent Marking
Patent Ready
Patent Reexaminations

 

 

 

 

Patents vs Trademarking

 

Never try to protect an innovation by trademarking when a patent is possible.

  • patents protect new and useful inventions, from gadgets to pharmaceuticals to software to ...

  • trademarks protect brand names, logos and other source designators

  • patents prevent competitors from making, selling or using anything which is or includes the patented innovation

  • trademarks prevent competitors from using confusingly similar trademarks

  • trademarks do not, in any fashion, prevent competitors from making, selling and using the innovation

  • trademarks provide exclusivity to the use of the trademark

  • patents provide exclusivity to the use/sale of the innovation

 

If you try shielding an innovation with a trademark rather than a patent, you are betting against yourself.  If the innovation has any success in the marketplace, the success will be lost to competitors.  The initial success gives competitors a free market survey.

 

I came across the following misleading statement, prominently placed, on a very popular and successful website:

"You can also use the mark to maintain yourself as the exclusive source of a product or service."

Wrong, wrong, wrong, or at minimum very misleading.  It would be correct if it said:

 

"You can also use the mark to maintain yourself as the exclusive source of a product brand or service brand, although the same product or service can be sold by competitors under different brand names (trademarks)."

Again, trademark exclusivity runs to the brand name, not the product.  Patent exclusivity runs to the product, and not the brand name.

 

Example - McDonald's has acquired an immense degree of exclusivity in its McDonald's trademark, but none whatsoever in hamburger.  You can make and sell hamburgers as similar in appearance and taste as you choose, but you cannot call them McDonald's.

 

The only IP area that provides product/service exclusivity is patents, and that exclusivity is gained only if your invention (it must be yours, not something you have seen) meets the rigorous novelty and nonobviousness requirements.

 

More comparisons:

  • patents limited to innovations that meet the rigorous new and nonobvious standands

  • trademark requirements do not approach patent requirements, either as to type or severity

  • patent exclusivity lasts only for a set period of years, and cannot be renewed

  • trademarks can be renewed and renewed, as long as the mark is kept in use, and therefore can approach being perpetual.

But again, trademarks are not a "cure" to the thresholds and limitations of the otherwise-awesome power of patents.  Trademarks provide no product exclusivity, merely brand name exclusivity.  Do not trademark when you should patent.

 

Nothing, absolutely nothing, in trademark law prevents competitors from duplicating an unpatented innovation.

 

other topics - patent applications, trademark registrations, about patents, about trademarks, patents vs trade secrets, trademark myths, patent it or not, patent ready, patent myths

questions, inquiries - contact the firm (all contact modes) or call 312.419.8055
 

back to FAQS

 

 
     


The Law Office of Joan I. Norek
25 E. Washington Street, Suite 1400
Chicago, Illinois  60602
Tel.  312.419.8055   Fax 312.236.6686
Contact the Firm

 

Patents • Chemical Patents • Trademarks • Copyrights • Searches, Applications

Home • Firm Profile • Contact • Confidentiality • Site Map • FAQS
 


Copyright 2004 - 2014 Joan I. Norek, The Law Office of Joan I. Norek 
All rights reserved.
noreklaw, noreklaw.com and PatentAttitude are trademarks and service marks of Joan I. Norek, Chicago, Illinois.

Use of this website does not create an attorney-client relationship.  This website provides information and resources but is neither legal advice nor a substitute for the legal advice of an IP attorney.  Retentions are subject to the discretion of the firm.
This website was designed and constructed by Joan I. Norek.