What is the difference between a trademark and a patent?
What is a trademark?
A trademark is a name or symbol that identifies a product or service as coming from a specific company or organization. A trademark can be used to identify products sold under that brand name, but it can also be used to describe the company's services. Trademarks are often registered with government agencies like the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
What is a Patent?
A patent is a legal document that protects an inventor's rights for their invention for a period of time. A patent grants its owner the right to prevent others from making use of the patented innovation without permission. Patents are issued by national governments under rules established by international conventions. Inventions can range from anything that is useful (such as a new type of light bulb) to any kind of scientific discovery (such as how to clone a human being).
The term 'patent' comes from the Latin word 'patere', meaning 'to strike'. This refers to the practice of marking out an area of land by driving wooden stakes into the ground. These stakes were used by farmers to indicate where they had planted seeds or crops.
Patents have been known since ancient times. However, it was not until the 18th century that patents began to play an important role in science. Prior to this time, scientists would freely share ideas and information with each other. They did this through informal discussions at scientific meetings and through letters sent back and forth between colleagues. As a result, many discoveries were never formally recognized.
In 1714, the British government passed the first patent law in order to protect inventions and innovations. Since then, countries around the world have enacted similar laws.
There are two types of patents: utility patents and design patents.
There is of course now a third way to protect you intellectual property at a much lower cost using a digital timestamp.
What is a digital timestamp?
A digital timestamp proves that you had a file at a certain point in time. This is an important proof in demonstrating something is your intellectual property. Due to the low cost of implementation many people create a digital timestamp of their work before sharing it with others.