Difference Between Trademark and Patent

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: July 27, 2023


Difference Between Trademark and Patent

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Until and unless it is converted into something of value, a concept remains just that—an idea. An idea becomes intellectual property once it is transformed into a human invention, such as a product, a design, or any creative endeavor. Industrial property, which includes trademarks, industrial designs, innovations (patents), and copyright, which protects creative and literary works, is a subcategory of intellectual property.

Trademark vs Patent

While a trademark is a mark, which can be any object used to identify the source of goods or services, a mark can also be a word, phrase, picture, or anything else. The right to make, use, or sell an invention is known as a patent, which is given to the inventor.

Difference Between Trademark and Patent In Tabular Form

Basis of comparisonTrademarkPatent
MeaningThe term "trademark" refers to a symbol that businesses use to set their goods and services apart from those of rivals.A patent is defined as the monopoly granted by the government over a brand-new, practical innovation for a specific amount of time.
Applicable toMarks or symbols that identify the brand that is selling a product are found on goods.Any kind of invention.
ProtectionSafeguards any goodwill connected to the mark.Ideas that are implemented.
Awarded forDistinctivenessNovelty and originality
PreventsAvoiding utilizing a mark that is too like the business's mark.Preventing others from making, utilizing, or offering the patented product.
Term10 years20 years

What is Trademark?

The term "trademark" refers to a graphic symbol that identifies the source of a good or service. It includes a signature, brand, label, logo, slogan, color scheme, a combination of numbers, or any other element that is used to set the product or service apart from other products or services of a similar sort.

In a nutshell, a trademark is a distinguishing symbol used to identify goods or services produced under a particular brand name. It is used to give the mark owner protection by granting an exclusive right to use it or to give permission for another party to use it in exchange for fair compensation.

For several years of use, one can register a trademark with the relevant government. The length of the protection varies. However, it can be extended indefinitely by making further payments. One of the main benefits of trademark protection is that it prevents unfair competitors, or counterfeiters, from using a similar mark to market subpar goods.

History of Trademarks

Although the idea of guarding markings and symbols as a kind of intellectual property has changed substantially throughout the years, trademarks may be traced back to prehistoric times. Here is a timeline of trademark history.

  • Ancient Trademarks: Craftsmen and dealers placed distinguishing marks or symbols on their items to denote their origin or quality in ancient civilizations including Egypt, Greece, and Rome. These early marks were frequently straightforward engravings or stamps that identified products.
  • The Middle Ages saw the emergence of guilds as organizations for artisans and businesspeople in Europe. To indicate the source and caliber of the products made by its members, guilds utilized particular markings or emblems. These logos, which were frequently used to represent the guild itself, might be seen on goods and in markets.
  • Merchants' Marks: During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, individual merchants started utilizing distinctive marks or symbols to distinguish their wares and build a solid reputation. These marks served as a means of identifying in trade and were registered with municipal government or guilds.
  • Early Statutory Protection: The first known trademark protection law was passed in England in the 13th century. To deter fraud and guarantee the quality, the "Bakers' Marking Act" of 1266 mandated that bakers place distinctive stamps on their bread. During this time, comparable laws were enacted in other European nations.
  • Trademark registration during the Industrial Revolution: Trade and commerce underwent tremendous upheaval throughout the Industrial Revolution. The need for trademark protection became more obvious with the growth of mass production and increased competition. Countries like the United Kingdom and the United States established trademark registration systems in the 19th century to establish ownership rights and offer legal protection.
  • Global trade has increased trade, which has led to a need for international cooperation in trademark protection. The groundwork for worldwide trademark protection was formed with the signing of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property in 1883. The agreement outlined fundamental concepts, such as national treatment and the applicant's priority right for trademarks.
  • Trademark Law Development: Over time, trademark rules and regulations have developed to offer broader protection. Legislation has been passed in several nations to specify the boundaries of trademark rights, lay out the registration process, and impose penalties for trademark infringement. Trademark laws across members of international accords, such as the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), have been further unified.
  • Modern Trademark Systems: Today, trademark registration with a national or regional intellectual property office is the norm for trademark systems all around the world. By registering their trademarks and protecting their legal rights against unlawful use or infringement, trademark owners may safeguard their brands. Trademarks are essential for branding, promoting fair competition, and protecting consumers.

Special Considerations

It is possible to buy and sell trademarks. Additionally, trademarks may be licensed to other businesses for a predetermined period or under specific restrictions, leading to the creation of crossover brands. Consider the association that LEGO has with film series. The private company creates LEGO copies of well-known products under license from several well-known sub-brands, including Star Wars and DC Comics.

As was already noted, trademarks are a powerful tool for marketing brand names. The use of brands in marketing is legendary and the power of branding in business can fill volumes.

What all can be trademarked?

  • Product names and abbreviations are marked, such as Coca-Cola and Coke.
  • Like the distinctive NBC chimes
  • Logos Sounds
  • Company names
  • Slogans (like Nike's "Just Do It")
  • color schemes or combinations (such as the brown of a UPS truck)
  • smells, that's right. In 2018, Hasbro was granted a Play-Doh smell trademark.

What can’t be trademarked?

  • trademarks that are currently in use or that are strikingly like trademarks already in use.
  • generic terms for descriptions
  • Frequently used words or messages
  • blatantly religious texts and quotes

Types of Trademarks

  • Arbitrary and Fanciful Trademarks: The strongest trademarks are arbitrary and fantastical, which defend invented names and marks or words taken out of context, respectively.
  • Suggestive Trademarks: The next strongest trademarks are suggestive ones, which aim to spark the consumer's imagination.
  • Descriptive Trademarks: The least potent trademarks—descriptive trademarks—describe the products and services.

Dead Trademark

A trademark is considered dead if its federal trademark registration rights have expired. This could happen if the original owner neglected to submit renewal applications or if a petition to revoke the mark was submitted. It should be noted that just because a trademark is classified as "dead," it does not imply that it is no longer restricted from usage.

Different Trademark Symbols

  • : - The most widely used trademark sign is available for use by anyone, regardless of registration status. By including this icon, you can let other companies know that you have taken ownership of a name, logo, or phrase.
  • ®: This symbol, which denotes a registered trademark, is only permitted for those brands that have received USPTO approval.
  • SM: This mark qualifies as a "service mark." It is used only for services, not for items, as its name would imply. You can utilize this symbol without registration, just like the TM.

What is a Patent?

A patent is a property right granted by the state to the inventor. This grant confers upon the Inventor temporary exclusive rights to the patented invention in consideration for full disclosure of the Idea. They represent a certain inviolable right.

Governmental organizations typically review and approve patent applications. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), a division of the Department of Commerce, manages applications and issues approval in the United States.

Types of Patents

  • Utility Patent: Patents for invention, often known as utility patents, provide individuals with legal protection when they develop novel and practical methods, goods, tools, or materials. More than 90% of all patents issued by the US government fall under the category of utility patents, making them the most common type of patent. If maintenance fees are paid, a utility patent is valid for 20 years after the date of application. A maintenance fee is charged for utility patent applications filed after December 12, 1980.
  • Design patent: Patents for unique, innovative, and aesthetic design solutions of industrial products are called design patents. Design patents protect the appearance or model of an object. They want the originality and usefulness of the proposed invention. For applications filed after May 13, 2015, the design patent is valid for 15 years. Patents issued before May 13, 2015, are valid for 14 years from the date of application. Maintenance fees are not necessary for design patents.
  • Plant Patents: Anyone who creates, unearths, or creates a new form of plant that can reproduce is eligible for a plant patent. These patents are exempt and valid for 20 years from the date of application.

Patents encourage businesses or people to continue creating novel goods or services without worrying about being copied. Large pharmaceutical corporations, for instance, can invest billions of dollars in R&D. Without patents, their medications, and drugs could be copied and marketed by businesses that didn't conduct research or put out the necessary funds for R&D.

In other words, patents assist businesses to protect their intellectual property so that they can be more profitable. Patents, however, also give businesses a chance to boast about their innovation.

How to Apply for a Patent?

An applicant should check the Patent and Trademark Office's database before submitting a formal application to see if another individual or organization has already filed for a patent for a comparable idea. To patent an invention, it must be unique or better than a previous design. Applicants must ensure that detailed records are kept of the design and manufacturing processes of the invention. The individual or organization who submitted the patent application is responsible for enforcing it.

The applicant must submit documentation and pay related costs to file for a patent in the United States. The drawings, descriptions, and claims of the patentable invention are all included in the written documents.

Examples of Patents

  • The personal computer patent, submitted in 1980 by Steve Jobs and three other Apple Inc. workers, is one of the most famous ones in the last 40 years.
  • In 1904, King C. Gillette obtained a patent for the razor, which became known as a "safety razor."
  •  In 1923, Garrett Morgan received a patent for the traffic light.
  •  In 1930, Philo Taylor Farnsworth received the patent for the television for his "first television system."
  • Farnsworth developed the first electronic television image when he was 20 years old and went on to develop an early version of the electron microscope.

Facts about Patents

  • A patent is a type of intellectual property protection that gives creators temporary exclusivity on their inventions.
  • The idea of patents was first introduced in ancient Greece, where the government gave innovators exclusive rights to their creations.
  • Inventions were given ten years of protection by the first modern patent law, which was established in Venice, Italy in 1474.
  • Samuel Hopkins received the first American patent in 1790 for a better method of "making pot ash and pearl ash."
  • Patents are issued for newly created and usable methods, tools, materials, or any newly created and useful advancements thereof.
  • Patents grant the owner of an invention the sole right to stop others from creating, using, selling, or importing the innovation without permission.
  • In the US, a utility patent has a 20-year term from the date of filing, but a design patent has a 15-year term.
  • A thorough description of the invention must be written and submitted to the correct patent office as part of the patent application process.
  • The innovation must be sufficiently described in the patent application for others to be able to make and use it.
  • Patent offices carefully examine inventions to see if they satisfy the criteria for patentability before granting a patent.
  • Not all patent requests are approved. Some may be disqualified for lacking novelty, being too obvious, or failing to satisfy other requirements for patentability.
  • Because of their territorial nature, patents are only issued in specific nations. In each nation where they seek protection, inventors must submit a separate patent application.
  • Patents give inventors a framework for legally commercializing their ideas, luring capital, and obtaining licenses.
  • Inventors can commercialize their inventions and make money by buying, selling, or licensing patents.
  • The most prevalent kind of patents are utility patents, which protect novel and beneficial methods, devices, or material compositions.
  • The ornamental design or outward appearance of a functioning object is protected by design patents rather than the functional elements of the item.
  • By giving inventors a temporary monopoly in exchange for disclosing their inventions to the public, patents promote innovation.
  • Patent trolls, also known as non-practicing entities, are people or businesses that only purchase patents to file infringement lawsuits and collect license fees from accused infringers.
  • To maintain a competitive advantage, some inventors opt to keep their ideas as trade secrets rather than patent them.
  • Technology, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and manufacturing are just a few of the sectors that are significantly impacted by patents, which also stimulate economic growth.

Main Differences Between Trademarks and Patents in Points

  • A trademark is defined as a mark or symbol that distinguishes a product or set of services from those made by other market participants. A patent can be thought of as a monopoly granted by a nation's government, for a predetermined time, on a brand-new and practical invention involving an original step.
  • Any sign, symbol, term, phrase, logo, picture, or design that is similar to the company's mark qualifies as a trademark. Contrarily, a patent protects inventions in any industry.
  • Goodwill connected to a logo, a phrase, or the combination of these features is protected by a trademark. On the other hand, concepts that become reality are protected by patents.
  • A trademark is recognized for its distinctiveness since it separates one product from another on the market. In contrast, a patent is given for an original and original invention.
  • A trademark protects other parties from using a mark that is too like the company's mark. In contrast, the patent forbids anyone from making, utilizing, or marketing the patented product.
  • The decision to register a trademark is up to the business owner, who has discretion over whether to do so. On the other side, patent registration is required.
  • A trademark can be registered for ten years, whereas a patent can be used for twenty.


In essence, a trademark protects the owner of the mark by granting them the sole right to use it or grant permission for someone else to use it in exchange for cash. The patent, on the other hand, refers to a legal document granted to the inventor by the law that enables him to prevent anyone from commercially exploiting the innovation for a predetermined length of time.



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"Difference Between Trademark and Patent." Diffzy.com, 2024. Thu. 13 Jun. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-trademark-and-patent>.

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