Trademark FAQs


What is a Trademark?

A trademark can be a name, slogan, or logo that’s used in business to show where goods/services come from. It helps customers tell one company’s goods/services from another’s.

Trademark Symbols
The circle-R symbol (®) signifies a registered trademark, recognized by authorities like the USPTO.

Before official registration, the trademark symbol (™) asserts ownership when affixed to brand elements like names, logos, or slogans. Using “TM” for goods and “SM” for services indicates your intent to claim rights, even without registration.

Once registered, the ® symbol denotes official protection.

Position the registration symbol around the trademark, typically in superscript or subscript format to the right, noting it should only accompany the trademark for specific goods or services listed in the federal registration.
International Classifications
International classifications, aka as trademark classes categorize goods and services for registration.

See the chart below or explore the USPTO’s Trademark ID Manual – a searchable directory of goods and services and classifications.

When applying for a trademark, the relevant class(es) must be specified in order to determine fees.

Our comprehensive trademark search covers broad definitions to identify potential conflicts and similarities across trademark classes. Conflicts often arise within the same class of goods or services, but the nature of similarities can vary significantly. This extends to instances where goods may overlap into service classes and vice versa.

For instance, a beauty salon faces potential conflicts not only with other beauty salons but also with cosmetic products, shampoos, perfumes, and personal services associated with beauty care.

Our search team examines extensive mark variations and trademark classes, focusing on similarities in sound, appearance, and meaning. This strategy adheres to the guidelines set forth by the USPTO regarding the likelihood of confusion.
International Classifications Chart
Class 1: Chemicals

Chemicals used in industry, science and photography, as well as in agriculture, horticulture and forestry; unprocessed artificial resins, unprocessed plastics; manures; fire extinguishing compositions; tempering and soldering preparations; chemical substances for preserving foodstuffs; tanning substances; adhesives used in industry.

Class 2: Paints

Paints, varnishes, lacquers; preservatives against rust and against deterioration of wood; colorants; mordants; raw natural resins; metals in foil and powder form for painters, decorators, printers and artists.

Class 3: Cosmetics and cleaning preparations

Bleaching preparations and other substances for laundry use, cleaning, polishing, scouring and abrasive preparations, soaps, perfumery, essential oils, cosmetics, hair lotions, dentifrices.

Class 4: Lubricants and fuels

Industrial oils and greases, lubricants, dust absorbing, wetting and binding compositions, fuels (including motor spirit) and illuminates candles, wicks.

Class 5: Pharmaceuticals

Pharmaceutical, veterinary and sanitary preparations; dietetic substances adapted for medical use, food for babies, plasters, materials for dressings, material for stopping teeth, dental wax, disinfectants,preparations for destroying vermin,fungicides, herbicides.

Class 6: Metal goods

Common metals and their alloys, metal building materials, transportable buildings of metal, materials of metal for railway tracks, non-electric cables and wires of common metal, ironmongery, small items of metal hardware, pipes and tubes of metal, safes, goods of common metal not included in other classes, ores.

Class 7: Machinery

Machines and machine tools, motors and engines (except for land vehicles), machine coupling and transmission components (except for land vehicles), agricultural implements, incubators for eggs.

Class 8: Hand tools

Hand tools and implements (hand operated), cutlery, side arms, razors.

Class 9: Electrical and scientific apparatus

Scientific, nautical, surveying, electric, photographic, cinematographer, optical, weighing, measuring, signaling, checking (supervision), life-saving and teaching apparatus and instruments, apparatus for recording, transmission or reproduction of sound or images, magnetic data carriers, recording discs, automatic vending machines and mechanisms for coin-operated apparatus, cash registers, calculating machines, data processing equipment and computers, fire-extinguishing apparatus.

Class 10: Medical Apparatus

Surgical, medical, dental and veterinary apparatus and instruments, artificial limbs, eyes and teeth, orthopedic articles, suture materials.

Class 11: Environmental control apparatus

Apparatus for lighting, heating, steam generating, cooking, refrigerating, drying, ventilating, water supply and sanitary purposes.

Class 12: Vehicles

Vehicles, apparatus for locomotion by land, air or water.

Class 13: Firearms

Firearms, ammunition and projectiles; explosives; fireworks.

Class 14: Jewelry

Precious metals and their alloys and goods in precious metals or coated therewith, not included in other classes, jewelry, precious stones, horological and chronometric instruments.

Class 15: Musical Instruments

Musical instruments.

Class 16: Paper goods and printed matter

Paper, cardboard and goods made from these materials, not included in other classes, printed matter, book binding material, photographs, stationery, adhesives for stationery or household purposes, artists materials, paint brushes, typewriters and office requisites (except furniture), instructional and teaching material (except apparatus), plastic material for packaging (not included in other classes), playing cards, printers type, printing blocks.

Class 17: Rubber goods

Rubber, gutta-percha, gum, asbestos, mica and goods made from these materials and not included in other classes, plastics in extruded form for use in manufacture, packing, stopping and insulating materials, flexible pipes, not of metal.

Class 18: Leather goods

Leather and imitations of leather, and goods made of these materials and not included in other classes, animal skins, hides, trunks and traveling bags, umbrellas, parasols and walking sticks, whips, harness and saddlery.

Class 19: Non-metallic building materials

Building materials (non-metallic), non-metallic rigid pipes for building, asphalt, pitch and bitumen, non-metallic transportable buildings, monuments, not of metal.

Class 20: Furniture and articles not otherwise classified

Furniture, mirrors, picture frames, goods (not included in other classes) of wood, cork, reed, cane, wicker, horn, bone, ivory, whalebone, shell, amber, mother-of-pearl, meerschaum and substitutes for all these materials, or of plastics.

Class 21: Housewares and glass

Household or kitchen utensils and containers (not of precious metal or coated therewith), combs and sponges, brushes (except paint brushes), brush-making materials, articles for cleaning purposes, steel wool, unworked or semi-worked glass (except glass used in building), glass-ware, porcelain and earthenware not included in other classes.

Class 22: Cordage and fibers

Ropes, string, nets, tents, awnings, tarpaulins, sails, sacks and bags (not included in other classes), padding and stuffing materials (except of rubber or plastics), raw fibrous textile materials.

Class 23: Yarns and threads

Yarns and threads, for textile use.

Class 24: Fabrics

Textiles and textile goods, not included in other classes, bed and table covers.

Class 25: Clothing

Clothing, footwear, headgear.

Class 26: Fancy goods

Lace and embroidery, ribbons and braid; buttons, hooks and eyes, pins and needles; artificial flowers.

Class 27: Floor coverings

Carpets, rugs, mats and matting, linoleum and other materials for covering existing floors, wall hangings (non-textile).

Class 28: Toys and sporting goods

Games and playthings, gymnastic and sporting articles not included in other classes; decorations for Christmas trees.

Class 29: Meats and processed foods

Meat, fish, poultry and game; meat extracts; preserved, dried and cooked fruits and vegetables, jellies, jams, fruit sauces, eggs, milk and milk products; edible oils and fats.

Class 30: Staple foods

Coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar, rice, tapioca, sago, artificial coffee, flour and preparations made from cereals, bread, pastry and confectionery, ices, honey, treacle, yeast, baking powder, salt, mustard, vinegar, sauces (condiments), spices, ice.

Class 31: Natural agricultural products

Agricultural, horticultural and forestry products and grains not included in other classes, live animals, fresh fruits and vegetables, seeds, natural plants and flowers, foodstuffs for animals, malt.

Class 32: Light beverages

Beers, mineral and aerated waters and other non-alcoholic drinks, fruit drinks and fruit juices, syrups, and other preparations for making beverages.

Class 33: Wines and spirits

Alcoholic beverages (except beers).

Class 34: Smokers' articles

Tobacco, smokers’ articles; matches.

Class 35: Advertising and business services

Advertising, business management, business administration, office functions.

Class 36: Insurance of financial services

Insurance, financial affairs, monetary affairs, real estate affairs.

Class 37: Construction and repair services

Building construction, repair, installation services.

Class 38: Communication services


Class 39: Transportation and storage services

Transport, packaging, and storage of goods, travel arrangement.

Class 40: Material treatment services

Treatment of materials.

Class 41: Education and entertainment services

Education, providing of training, entertainment, sporting and cultural activities.

Class 42: Scientific and technological services and research

Scientific and technological services and research and design relating thereto industrial analysis and research services, design and development of computer hardware and software legal services.

Class 43: Food and drink services

Services for providing food and drink, temporary accommodation.

Class 44: Medical and veterinary services

Medical services, veterinary services, hygienic and beauty care for human beings or animals, agriculture, horticulture and forestry services.

Class 45: Personal and social services

Personal and social services rendered by others to meet the needs of individuals; security services for the protection of property and individuals.

Protecting Against Trademark Scams
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is actively combating trademark scams. These fraudulent activities deceive business owners into paying hundreds or thousands of dollars for fake trademark services. The USPTO is determined to stop scammers from misleading those seeking legitimate trademark protection.

Learn about all the different ways the USPTO is working to Protect Against Trademark Scams.


Direct Hit Trademark Search

Are Low-Priced Direct Hit Trademark Searches Worth the Savings?
No, they are not worth the time and money because:

Limited Scope
Direct hit trademark searches find only exact or near-exact matches to your name. Most conflicts or strong similarities that could block registration are found in a comprehensive search.

DIY Option
You can perform direct hit searches for free on the USPTO Trademark Search platform. Low-cost firms often offer only these inadequate searches. Why pay for an incomplete search you can do for free?

Red Flags
Be cautious of filing firms that use the following terms to describe their search services, as they indicate a non-comprehensive approach:

Direct Hit
Federal Direct-Hit
USPTO Search
Federal Search
Exact Matches
Before ordering comprehensive research, conduct your own preliminary direct hit trademark search. Visit the USPTO’s Trademark Search platform, explore their Help page, and start searching.

If you’re unsure how to interpret results, don’t worry. Contact us for a free consultation. We’re here to help you understand any hits you find.

Additionally, we offer free live direct hit trademark searches through the USPTO platform. Contact us to schedule a walkthrough together.

All of our Search Packages begin with a free direct hit trademark search. This brief check allows us to identify immediate conflicts with your desired name. If any issues arise, we’ll connect you with our trademark attorney network for further guidance.

Comprehensive Trademark Search

A comprehensive trademark search delves into both pending & registered Federal and State trademark databases. It’s not merely a direct hit search; it encompasses various name variations.

Your trademark search company’s trademark report should include various name variations, including spelling, pronunciation, synonyms, word placements, foreign language equivalents, and more.

And, the USPTO recommends it – “A comprehensive clearance search means checking a variety of resources to determine whether your trademark conflicts with other existing trademarks.”
A comprehensive trademark search offers peace of mind that your business or product name is legally clear. Many applications are rejected due to similarity with existing trademarks, leading to confusion among customers about the source of goods or services.

And, the USPTO recommends it – “The best way to avoid a likelihood of confusion refusal is to conduct a comprehensive clearance search and understand how to correctly assess your results before submitting your application.”

Common Law Search

What are common law rights?

Common law trademark rights arise when you use a trademark for specific goods or services in the United States. These rights activate as soon as the trademark is used in commerce but are limited to the geographic area where the trademark is used, restricting enforcement to that locale.

A comprehensive common law search involves exploring various databases, including public records (fictitious business names, corporations, etc.), business name databases, the internet (social media), domain names, and news media. These databases provide insights into existing business names, online presence, domain registrations, and public mentions.

A comprehensive search company must furnish a detailed report outlining the checked sources, employed search strategies, and a complete account of search results.

Common law trademark rights can affect the rights granted by your federal registration, especially if the common-law use predates your registration. This means earlier common-law usage could limit your federal rights. A comprehensive common law search helps identify any trade restrictions that could impact your trademark, preventing issues like being unable to sell in a crucial city, county, or state.

And, the USPTO recommends it – “ We also recommend you search for common-law use of the trademark by others.”

Why Choose TradeMark Express?

Benefits of TradeMark Express Search Services
Our comprehensive searches cover Federal and State Trademark databases (spelling and pronunciation variations, synonyms, foreign language equivalents, & more) and Common Law databases, ensuring no conflicts are missed.

Experts analyze detailed reports and connect you to our trademark attorney network, ensuring legal clarity, reducing rejection risks, and saving on legal fees and rebranding costs.

Trusted since 1992, TradeMark Express follows USPTO guidelines, providing peace of mind and allowing you to focus on business growth.


USPTO Basics

What is the USPTO?
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the federal agency responsible for granting U.S. patents and registering trademarks.

It is important to note that the USPTO only registers trademarks and is not an enforcement agency. They also do not “police” the use of trademarks. “You, as the mark owner, are solely responsible for enforcement.”
Yes, they perform a search of their database (limited to federal trademarks) after you file.

However, relying solely on the USPTO search has serious drawbacks:

  • It doesn’t cover state trademarks or common law databases, both recommended by the USPTO before filing. Here’s what they say about what a comprehensive search is – “federally registered and pending trademarks,” “state trademark databases,” and “common-law use
  • The process to reach the USPTO search can be lengthy, currently taking 8 months to reach the “first examining action,” when the USPTO search is conducted. This delay poses a risk: investing months in your business and brand, only to face potential rejection by the USPTO.
It’s best to order a comprehensive search before starting your business and certainly before filing a trademark application.

USPTO Trademark Application

Why should you register your trademark?
Registering your trademark with the USPTO is more than a formality—it’s a strategic move that significantly enhances your brand’s protection and recognition.

Benefits of Federal Trademark Registration:

Nationwide Protection: Your trademark is protected across the entire United States and its territories, not just in your state.
USPTO Database Listing: Your trademark will be listed in the USPTO’s public database, signaling ownership and legitimacy.
Legal Advantages: Federal registration gives you legal presumption of ownership, simplifying legal disputes and making it easier to defend your trademark in court.
Global Reach: Federal registration can be a foundation for international trademark protection, aiding your brand’s global expansion.
Right to Sue: You can bring federal court lawsuits related to your trademark, asserting your brand’s rights and defending its integrity.
Use of the ® Symbol: Displaying the federal registration symbol (®) enhances your brand’s authority and deters potential infringers.
Customs Support: Registering with U.S. Customs and Border Protection helps prevent unauthorized imports of goods bearing infringing trademarks, protecting your brand from counterfeit threats.
Trademark Application Fees
When applying for a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the filing fees depend on the application form used and the number of classes of goods or services included.

TEAS Plus:
Fee: $250 per class of goods/services

Details: This is the more cost-effective option but requires meeting specific requirements, such as providing accurate descriptions and selecting goods and services from the USPTO’s pre-approved list.

TEAS Standard:
Fee: $350 per class of goods/services

Details: This option offers more flexibility in describing goods and services, making it suitable for applicants who don’t meet all the TEAS Plus requirements.

Additional Fees for Intent-to-Use Applications
If you’re filing based on intent to use, there are extra fees:

Extension Request: $125 per class. This fee applies if you need more time to show the use of your mark in commerce.

Statement of Use: $100 per class. This fee is required when you submit evidence of your mark’s use in commerce after filing an intent-to-use application.
How long does it take to register a trademark?
Your timeline will depend on the filing basis you select –

Section 1(a) – In Use in Commerce

If your trademark is already in use in commerce with your goods and/or services, you’ll file under Section 1(a).

Preparation: Collect all required information and documents.
Filing: Submit your application and fees online via the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS).
Initial Review: The USPTO examines your application to ensure it meets all requirements.
Publication: If approved, your trademark is published in the Official Gazette, allowing others to oppose it.
Registration: If there is no opposition, or any opposition is resolved in your favor, your trademark is registered.

For the full timeline, read our post about Use in Commerce trademarks.

Section 1(b) – Intent to Use

If your trademark is not yet in use but you have a bona fide intent to use it in the near future, you’ll file under Section 1(b).

Preparation: Collect all required information and documents.
Filing: Submit your application and fees online via the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS).
Initial Review: The USPTO examines your application to ensure it meets all requirements.
Notice of Allowance: Receive a Notice of Allowance once your application is approved.
Statement of Use: Submit a Statement of Use within six months to prove you’ve started using the trademark in commerce.
Registration: Your trademark is registered if all requirements are met.

For the full timeline, read our post about Intent to Use trademarks.

Trademark Application Refusals

Understanding Trademark Refusal Issues

When registering your trademark, the USPTO may refuse it for various reasons.

An expert trademark services company, like TradeMark Express, is well-versed in these potential refusal issues and more. We ensure all necessary steps are taken, including conducting comprehensive searches, leveraging a network of trademark attorneys, and providing assistance with trademark application preparation.

Taking this proactive approach not only saves you time, money, and effort in the long run but also ensures a smoother trademark registration process.

Likelihood of Confusion

The USPTO examines existing trademarks to identify potential conflicts. The key factors are the similarity of the marks and the relatedness of the goods or services.

Similarity in sound, appearance, or meaning can be enough to establish a likelihood of confusion.

Even if the marks or goods/services are not identical, confusion may be found if consumers might mistakenly believe the marks originate from the same source.

How to Avoid a Likelihood of Confusion Refusal?

To make sure your trademark name is clear before filing a trademark application, a comprehensive trademark search is a must.

At TradeMark Express, we carefully search for your trademark in both pending and registered Federal and State trademark databases, as well as in the US Common Law files.

At every search level, you’re given access to our trademark attorney network to discuss any relevant search results.

If the mark is clear to file, we’ll facilitate the preparation and filing of your US Federal trademark application (USPTO fees separate).

Merely Descriptive and Deceptively Misdescriptive
Merely Descriptive: A mark is considered merely descriptive if it directly describes an ingredient, quality, characteristic, function, feature, purpose, or use of the goods/services. For example, “CREAMY” for yogurt or “WORLD’S BEST BAGELS” for bagels.

Deceptively Misdescriptive: A mark is deceptively misdescriptive if it falsely describes an ingredient, quality, characteristic, function, feature, purpose, or use of the goods/services, and the misdescription is plausible. For example, “THC Tea” for tea without THC or “SEPTEMBER 11, 2011” for materials unrelated to the events of September 11, 2001.
Primarily Geographically Descriptive and Deceptively Misdescriptive
Primarily Geographically Descriptive: A mark is refused if it primarily identifies a known geographic location and purchasers are likely to believe the goods/services originate from that place. For example, “THE NASHVILLE NETWORK” for TV services from Nashville.

Primarily Geographically Deceptively Misdescriptive: A mark is refused if it primarily identifies a known geographic location, but the goods/services do not come from there, and the false association would influence consumers’ purchasing decisions. For example, “REAL RUSSIAN” for vodka not from Russia.
Primarily Merely a Surname

A mark is refused if its primary significance to the public is that of a surname or last name. Examples include “BINION’S” or “HAMILTON PHARMACEUTICALS” for family names or last names used for products.

Specimens of Use

What is a trademark specimen of use?

A trademark specimen is tangible proof of how you’re using your trademark in the marketplace with the goods or services listed in your application or registration. Essentially, it’s what consumers encounter when deciding to choose your branded goods or services.

When to submit trademark specimens

The timing for submitting trademark specimens varies depending on your trademark application route:

For Use-in-Commerce Applicants

If you’re applying based on use in commerce, you must include a specimen with your initial application.

Choosing the TEAS Plus filing option requires a specimen to be submitted upfront; without it, your application won’t be considered.

For Intent-to-Use Applicants

If you’re applying based on intent to use, you’ll submit a specimen after filing your initial application.

You have two key moments for submission:

  • Before your application is approved for publication, file an Amendment of Allege Use (AAU).
  • After receiving a Notice of Allowance, file a Statement of Use (SOU).

Both the AAU and SOU confirm your trademark’s use in commerce and should include your specimen along with important details like dates of use.

Acceptable Specimens for Goods (International Classes 1 to 34)
Here are examples of acceptable trademark specimens for goods.

We’ve listed specific goods in these examples so trademark owners of goods should consider their goods within context.

The Goods Themselves:
A photo displaying your trademark on the actual product, like the bottom of a vase or the handle of a curling iron, serves as a perfect specimen.

Labels and Tags:
Tags sewn onto clothing or labels attached to product packaging are acceptable. If not physically attached, a label or tag must clearly display the mark in use, along with other relevant information typical for the product, like net weight or UPC barcodes.

Showcasing your trademark on product packaging, such as a bag of coffee, is suitable for trademark submission.

Sales Displays:
Photographs of sales displays featuring your trademark alongside the goods being sold, such as a candy counter display in a convenience store, are acceptable.

Webpages Selling the Goods:
Screenshots of webpages selling products, complete with your trademark, pricing, and shopping-cart functionality, serve as valid specimens. Ensure to include the URL and access/print date in your submission.

Software Products:
For software, screenshots of launch screens displaying your trademark or webpages with download information and your trademark in the title bar are appropriate specimens.
Acceptable Specimens for Services (International Classes 35 to 45)
Here are examples of acceptable trademark specimens for services.

We’ve listed specific services in these examples so trademark owners of services should consider their services within context.

Online Advertising or Printed Matter:
A newspaper or online advertisement prominently displaying your trademark in connection with your tax preparation services.

Television and Radio Commercials:
An MP3 file of a television commercial for personal injury attorney services.

Marketing Material:
Scanned brochures and leaflets advertising various beauty spa services while highlighting your trademark.

Signage at Service Locations:
A photo of signage on the front of a gas station featuring your trademark.

Materials Used During Service:
– A menu for a restaurant.
– The name of an annual autumn festival displayed on ticket booths at the entrance.
– Screenshots of “title and launch screens for” an online video game.

A photo or scanned copy of an invoice featuring your trademark and wording such as “LANDSCAPING” for landscaping services.

Business Cards and Letterhead:
Business cards and letterhead clearly associating your trademark with interstate moving services.
Common Reasons for Trademark Specimen Rejection
Specimen Inaccuracy:
Your specimen must clearly represent your trademark, without illegible marks, partial representations, or variations from the drawing.

Misalignment with Goods or Services:
Ensure your specimen matches the goods or services claimed in your application. For example, promoting custom t-shirt printing for a filed application on t-shirts creates a discrepancy.

Third-Party Use:
Your specimen should demonstrate your own use of the trademark, not someone else’s. Simply sending press releases to media outlets doesn’t suffice.

Lack of Actual Commerce Use:
Specimens such as printer’s proofs, digitally created images, or materials solely for internal use won’t be accepted. Additionally, if your goods haven’t been sold or transported, your application will be rejected.

Inappropriate Specimen Type:
Some specimens are unsuitable. For instance, advertising material is acceptable for services but not for goods. Similarly, a webpage lacking ordering information or a webpage for downloadable software without means of download or purchase are inadequate.

Copyrights & Patents


Copyright safeguards original works of authorship once they are expressed in tangible form. This includes various creations such as paintings, music, and books.

For a work to be protected, it must be original, meaning it’s independently created with a minimum level of creativity by a human author. Additionally, the work must be fixed in a tangible medium, like being written down or recorded.

Copyright protection is automatic for original works upon creation, but registering the copyright provides enhanced legal protections.
Copyright law in the U.S. grants copyright owners exclusive rights, including:

– Reproducing the work in copies or phonorecords.
– Creating derivative works based on the original.
– Distributing copies or phonorecords to the public.
– Performing the work publicly (for literary, musical, dramatic, or choreographic works, pantomimes, or audiovisual works).
– Displaying the work publicly (for certain types of works).
– Performing the work publicly via digital audio transmission (for sound recordings).

Additionally, copyright owners can authorize others to exercise these rights, with some statutory limitations.

While registration isn’t mandatory, it’s necessary to enforce copyright through litigation for U.S. works. Timely registration enables copyright owners to seek specific monetary damages and attorney fees in lawsuits, and it also provides a presumption of correctness for the information on the registration certificate.
What is the difference between copyrights and trademarks?
Trademarks protect words, phrases, designs, or combinations thereof, distinguishing and identifying your goods or services from others while indicating their source.

Copyrights safeguard original artistic, literary, or intellectually created works, such as novels, music, movies, software code, photographs, and paintings, existing in tangible mediums like paper, canvas, film, or digital format.
Trademarking the title of a single creative work, like a book or a movie, typically won’t be approved.

However, if your title is part of a series of creative works, it may be eligible for trademark registration. You’ll need to provide evidence that demonstrates the title’s use across the entire series, not just for one work within it.

For instance, titles like “The Book Thief” for a book or “Saving Private Ryan” for a movie identify single works. On the other hand, series titles like C.S. Lewis’ “The Chronicles of Narnia” books, National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” radio programs, and “The Lord of the Rings” films encompass multiple creative works under the same name.


What is a patent?
A patent grants the inventor exclusive rights to their invention, preventing others from making, using, selling, or importing it into the U.S. A plant patent extends these rights to plant parts, such as apples from a patented apple variety.

However, a patent doesn’t grant the inventor the right to use their invention; rather, it allows them to stop others from doing so. Legal action can be taken against patent infringement. It’s important to note that U.S. patents are only enforceable within the U.S. and its territories.
How long is a patent valid?
Patent duration varies depending on the type:

Utility and Plant Patents: Up to 20 years from the filing date of the first non-provisional application.

Design Patents: Granted for 15 years from the date of grant.

Maintenance fees are required for utility patents after issuance to maintain their validity. In exceptional cases, patent terms may be extended or adjusted.
What is the difference between patent and trademarks?
Trademarks safeguard words, phrases, designs, or combinations thereof that distinguish your goods or services and indicate their source from others’.

Patents, on the other hand, protect technical inventions, such as chemical compositions (e.g., pharmaceutical drugs), mechanical processes (e.g., complex machinery), or unique machine designs that are applicable in various industries.