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Patents vs Trademark vs Copyright

Ream Law Firm, L.L.C. March 7, 2022

Patents, trademarks, and copyrights are vital intellectual property (IP) tools used by individuals and businesses to distinguish their brands and protect their original works and ideas. Though the protections afforded by each IP tool are quite different, people usually confuse them. An experienced Missouri intellectual property law attorney can enlighten you about how patents, trademarks, and copyrights differ from each other.

With over 25 years of extensive experience, Dale J. Ream has the knowledge, resources, and diligence to advise and guide clients in intellectual property matters. He's available to discuss your unique situation and enlighten you about the differences between patents, trademarks, and copyrights, as well as the protections they offer. Ream Law Firm, L.L.C. proudly serves clients in Kansas City, Missouri, and throughout the KC metro area, including Johnson County, Kansas, and Jackson County, Missouri.

Protecting Intellectual Property

Every year, original works of authorship are created, including movies, music, computer software, books, research, and architecture. Likewise, companies also create new products or invent novel solutions. Thankfully, intellectual property tools offer you ways to protect your company's name, logo, inventions, creative ideas, content, and original creations.

Protecting intellectual property often requires different procedures. Here are some common types of intellectual property - trademarks, patents, and copyrights – with examples and a brief explanation of the protections they offer.


A trademark is an intellectual property tool that protects the brand names, words, designs, symbols, phrases, and logos that are used on the products and services offered by your business from being registered by others without your permission.

What Protections Does a Trademark Offer?

Trademarks offer the following forms of protection:

  • Protection from damage of business reputation

  • Protection from infringement by another business or company

  • Protection against consumer confusion

  • Protection from counterfeiting your products and services

  • Protection for consumers from products or services with unknown sources

What Can Be Trademarked?

You can trademark anything that can be used to distinguish your business, products, and services from those of another business. This includes:

  • Business name

  • Product name

  • Design

  • Tagline

  • Word

  • Device

  • Logo

  • Color

  • Symbol

  • Phrase

  • Slogan

  • Sound mark

Examples of Trademarks

Here are some common examples of registered trademarks:

  • The golden arches of McDonald's®

  • The Nike® logo

  • Coca-Cola®

  • Head & Shoulders®

  • Google®

  • Facebook®

  • Apple®

A knowledgeable trademarks lawyer can enlighten you about the benefits of registering a trademark and guide you through every step of the application process.


A patent can be described as an authority, right, or license granted by the federal government to an inventor that gives the inventor the legal rights to exclude other companies from manufacturing, selling, using, or importing the invention for a set period.

Types of Patents

Some common types of patents include:

  • Software patents

  • Design patents

  • E-commerce system patents

  • Utility patents

  • Mechanical patents

  • Electrical engineering patents

  • Plant patents

  • Method and process patents

Examples of Patents

Some common examples of patents include:

  • The electric lightbulb

  • The internal combustion engine

  • The telephone

  • The computer

  • The maglev (Magnetic Levitation)

  • Google PageRank

  • 3D printer

  • iPhone

  • Bluetooth

An experienced patent attorney can guide you through the application process and help you navigate key decisions.


A copyright is an intellectual property tool used to protect original works of authorship, such as artistic, musical, literary, and dramatic works, as well as other kinds of creative expressions. Copyright prevents other individuals from copying your original works and creative ideas.

What Can Be Protected Using Copyright?

Copyright can be used to protect different original works including, but not limited to:

  • Songs

  • Movies

  • Books

  • Poetry

  • Sculptures

  • Paintings

  • Novels

  • Advertisements

  • Databases

  • Architecture

  • Technical drawings

  • Computer software and programs

Copyright Owner's Rights

Copyright ownership gives the author or owner of an original work, or the holder of the copyright, six exclusive rights, including:

  • The right to reproduce and make copies of an original work

  • The right to display the work publicly

  • The right to distribute copies to the public by sale or control how the works are transferred to others, such as by lending, sale, lease, or rental

  • The right to create derivative works based on the original work, such as a sequel or spin-off

  • The right to perform the work publicly

  • The right to perform sound recordings publicly through digital audio transmission

If you want to apply for a patent, trademark, or copyright, or if your protected works were used without your permission or stolen, you need to reach out to an experienced attorney right away. A skilled IP law attorney can help you sue for damages, pursue claims, and attempt to recover the financial compensation that you deserve.

Turn to Ream Law Firm, L.L.C. for Skilled Legal Guidance

Navigating intellectual property matters involving patents, trademarks, or copyrights often involves a lot of complexities. Dale J. Ream is committed to offering comprehensive legal guidance and reliable advocacy to clients in intellectual property-related matters, including patents, trademarks, trade secrets, and copyrights. Using his in-depth legal understanding, he can educate you about how each intellectual property tool works and guide you through every legal phase involved in your application from start to finish.

Contact Ream Law Firm, L.L.C. today to schedule a simple consultation with a knowledgeable IP law attorney. Dale J. Ream can offer you the detailed legal counsel and strong advocacy you need to navigate key decisions regarding your intellectual property matters. The firm proudly serves clients in Kansas City, Missouri, and throughout the KC metro area, including Johnson County, Kansas, and Jackson County, Missouri.