Intellectual Property Law: Trademarks and Patents

Intellectual property (IP) is any creative work or invention considered to be the property of its creator. Often, intellectual property rights are recognized and protected under the corresponding fields of law. Under intellectual property law, owners are granted certain exclusive rights, such as the ability to publish to various markets, license the manufacture and distribution of inventions, and sue in case of unlawful or deceptive copying. Common types of intellectual property rights include copyrights, trademarks, patents, industrial design rights, and trade secrets.

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What is a trademark?

In trademark treatises it is usually reported that blacksmiths who made swords in the Roman Empire are thought of as being the first users of trademarks.[4] Other notable trademarks that have been used for a long time include Löwenbräu, which claims use of its lion mark since 1383. Registered trademarks involve registering the trademark with the government. The oldest registered trademarks in various countries include:

United Kingdom: 1876 – The Bass Brewery’s Red Triangle for ale was the first trademark to be registered under the Trade Mark Registration Act 1875.
United States: Samson (a rope-making company), featuring a depiction of the Biblical figure Samson wrestling a lion, was the first to be trademarked in the United States in 1884, and is still used by that company today.

In 1980, there were fewer than ten thousand registered high-tech trademarks in the United States. In 2011, there are more than 300,000.

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What is a patent?

A patent is a form of intellectual property. It consists of a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for the public disclosure of an invention.

The procedure for granting patents, the requirements placed on the patentee, and the extent of the exclusive rights vary widely between countries according to national laws and international agreements. Typically, however, a patent application must include one or more claims defining the invention which must meet the relevant patentability requirements such as novelty and non-obviousness. The exclusive right granted to a patentee in most countries is the right to prevent others from making, using, selling, or distributing the patented invention without permission.

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