patent vs. trademark

making the distinction

Intellectual Property Law is centered around the protection of ideas. 


Patents protect people’s ideas relating to physical things - innovations and emergent technologies. The attorneys who practice patent law are required to have science and engineering degrees in order to give them the background they need to able to represent the products. Being able accurately and specifically describe the new technology is critical in the success of a patent attorney. The more detailed and technical the description of the innovation, the better it will protect against other inventors copying the technology.


Trademarks protect names. Everyone is familiar with the little “TM” in a circle near well-known names like McDonalds or Sprite. Companies who have created a brand do not want other companies using their name and confusing consumers. If someone tries to use a brand name without permission, Trademark Attorneys send “Cease and Desist” letters requiring them to stop. Trademark attorneys are not required to have a science or engineering background to practice intellectual property law as it relates to trademarks.

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