The Differences Between A Trademark And A Patent, And How To Hire The Right Lawyer For Help

When you create a company, invent a product, write something, or have intellectual property that is yours, you want it to remain yours. The only way to do that is to get an attorney for the particular thing you want protected. In this case, you are wondering what the difference between a trademark and a patent is. You know that you have to file documents or paperwork to protect them both and make it legally binding. Which lawyer do you hire? What are the differences between a patent and a trademark? Where and when might you need to hire a lawyer for both or each of these pieces of intellectual property? The answers follow.

A Trademark Is a Symbol

A trademark is a symbol of your company. The symbol can be anything, including a product for which your company is known for, or for which it will become very well-known. For example, the "golden arches" is a trademark of McDonald's. No one else can use the giant yellow "M" that belongs to this company without paying franchise rights. The same holds true for your company. Virtually any design, pictured object, or pattern can be trademarked as strictly yours, and yours alone.

​A Patent Protects Your Product from Copies

​Just as a trademark protects symbols of your company from being reproduced and used by others, a patent protects your products. Every product that you invent and want to sell should have its own patent. If a product does not have a patent, or at least have a "patent pending," absolutely anyone else can rip off your design and your product and make it their own. The profits would then go to them, and not you. 

Hiring the Right Lawyer for the Job

​Intellectual property lawyers may practice in general, or they may practice specific aspects of intellectual property law. For instance, maybe you can find a trademark lawyer near you, but nothing says that he/she can help you with patents. Maybe he/she can advise you, but if trademark law is all he/she does, then that is the limit of this lawyer. You will have to look for either a general practitioner of intellectual property law, or a lawyer that practices one particular type. If you are lucky, you may be able to find a lawyer that practices both trademark and patent law. That is especially convenient since your product is also a trademark-able item.

Contact a law office like Lingbeck Law Office for more information.