The Patent and Trademark Office is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The role of the Patent and Trademark Office is to provide patent protection for inventions and to register trademarks. It serves the interest of inventors and businesses with respect to their inventions and corporate, product, and service identifications. It also advises and assists the bureaus and offices of the Department of Commerce and other agencies of the Government in matters involving "intellectual property" such as patents, trademarks and semiconductor mask works. Through the preservation, classification, and dissemination of patent information, the Office aids and encourages innovation and the scientific and technical advancement of the Nation.

In discharging its duties, the Patent and Trademark Office examines applications and grants patents on inventions when applicants are entitled to them; it publishes and disseminates patent information, records assignments of patents, maintains search files of U.S. and foreign patents and a search room for public use in examining issued patents and records. It supplies copies of patents and official records to the public. Similar functions are performed relating to trademarks.

Some persons occasionally confuse patents, copyrights, and trademarks. Although there may be some resemblance in the rights of these three kinds of intellectual property, they are different and serve different purposes.


A patent for an invention is a grant of a property right by the Government to the inventor (or his heirs or assigns), acting through the Patent and Trademark Office.


A copyright protects the writings of an author against copying. Literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works are included within the protection of the copyright law, which in some instances also confers performing and recording rights.


A trademark relates to any word, name, symbol or device that is used in trade with goods to indicate the source or origin of the goods and to distinguish them from the goods of others.

Unlike a copyright or patent, trademark rights can last indefinitely if the mark continues to perform a source-indicating function. The term of the Federal trademark registration is ten years, with ten-year renewal terms. However, between the fifth and sixth year after the date of the registration, the registrant must file an affidavit stating the mark is currently in use in commerce. If no affidavit is filed, the registration will be cancelled.

Additional information on patents, trademarks and copyrights can be found in The Corporate America Survival Handbook. ISBN: 1598000942.


Dr. Uchil is an entrepreneur, business-owner and author embodying almost three decades of management and consulting experience. Prior to founding The Uchil Group and Uchil, LLC, Dr. Uchil spent over eighteen years in a variety of senior management roles at several large consulting organizations. In addition to his PhD in Business Administration Dr. Uchil also holds an MBA in Consulting Operations Management, a BSEE in Electrical Engineering and a Diploma in Electronics and Telecommunicati...

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