Let’s start with a simple understanding. If you have even the slightest suspicion that you want to patent a product, you need to hire and get legal advice from a patent lawyer or a patent agent. This blog is not legal advice. I am not your lawyer or your agent. I am not providing you with any legal advice, representation, or counsel. You and I have no attorney-client relationship. The purpose of this blog is to introduce you to the vocabulary that you will need when you got to a patent attorney and ask him to help you patent your product.
Lawyers frequently get asked about “how to patent a name.” While it’s true that names that are used in commerce are a form of intellectual property, names are not a form of intellectual property that can be protected with a patent.
There is no good answer to the question of “how to patent a name,” because names are actually protected by a set of rights referred to as trademark law. Patents are used to protect any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof. Trademarks, on the other hand, are used to protect a trademark or trade mark is a distinctive name or other indicator used to identify that the goods or services with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or services from those of other entities.
So, you can’t really patent a name, but you can protect a name by registering the name as your trademark. Honestly, patent applications are very expensive, and they are probably too expensive to be used to patent a name, even if it were legally possible to patent a name. A trademark application for a name, on the other hand, typically costs 1/5 to 1/15 of what a patent application costs. So, while you can’t patent a name, the thing that you can do in registering your name as a trademark is much more cost-effective.
The other really good news is that, while patents only last for 20 years from the date on which an application is filed (subject to some extensions) a trademark on a name can last forever, as long as the name remains in use. Thus, you can protect a name with a trademark registration for centuries while you can only protect an invention with a patent for a couple of decades.
Remember: This blog is not legal advice. I am not your lawyer or your agent. I am not providing you with any legal advice, representation, or counsel.