Intellectual Property Legal Rights
Each category provides exclusive rights to the owners. These rights can prevent others from infringing upon those rights and damaging your intellectual property.
A valid federal trademark registration will always be used in connection with goods or services in order to indicate source of the trademark and symbolize the good will of that source. The rights of a trademark owner will only extend to that trademark’s association with the goods and services the trademark is used with or for. Therefore, a registered trademark does not give the trademark owner a monopoly in the use of a word, symbol, or device. The trademark gives the owner a monopoly in the use of a word, symbol, or device which is used in connection with the specific goods or services that the trademark registration covers.
For example, the owner of a “Pumpkin Spice” trademark for “hotel services” may be able to only exclude others from using an identical or similar trademark in the “hotel services” international classification. This means that using the word phrase “Pumpkin Spice” in an industry other than the hotel industry would not infringe on the “Pumpkin Spice” trademark. Thus, it is nearly impossible for a trademark owner to stop every possible use of the phrase “Pumpkin Spice”.
A copyright protects the original works of an author. This could be a book, musical, picture, news column, architectural works, etc. A copyright gives the exclusive right to copy, distribute, perform, or display the protected work. To compare to a trademark, a trademark protects the subject matter of the work, while a copyright protects the particular form in which the subject matter is expressed.
The goal of a patent is to protect inventions and other discoveries. A patent will grant to the owner the rights to exclude all others from making, using, selling, or offering its invention for sale in the U.S. Patents come in three forms, utility patents, design patents, and plant patents.
Who May Acquire the Rights of a Trademark
Trademark rights may be obtained by the company or individual(s) that uses the trademark in commerce in connection with the goods, products or services.