Brief Overview of Intellectual Property

In 1787, Article 1 Section 8 of the United States Constitution was ratified. It offered a contract to all citizens. In exchange for making creations of the useful arts known, the creator will be given exclusive right to the creation for a limited time. The concept of intellectual property was born.

Three types of property are known. These are real property, personal property and intellectual property. That which is owned as real property or personal property can be seen and touched. What is owned as intellectual property can only be described in words on paper. For example, a book is an item of personal property that can be owned. The right to reproduce the book is intellectual property.

Five types of intellectual property are recognized; patents, trademarks (including service marks), trade names, copyright and trade secrets.

Patents provide rights to inventions. In broad terminology, an invention is a new, useful and unobvious article of manufacture or improvement thereto. Inventions also include compositions of matter, methods of fabricating a product, methods that are useful in business, ornamental designs for article of manufacture, and asexually reproduced plants. Applications for patents can be filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Samuel Hopkins, of Pittsford, Vermont, received the first United States patent on July 31, 1790, for an improvement “in the making of Pot ash and Pearl ash by a new Apparatus and Process.” On 14 March 1794, United States Patent Number 1 was issued to Eli Whitney for “New Invented Cotton Gin, or Machine for Separating Cotton from Its Seed.”

Trademarks are used to distinguish the goods of one party from the goods of another. Service Marks distinguish the services of one provider from the services of another provider. Trademarks and service marks are treated equally under law and commonly referred to as marks. On 25 October 1870, Trademark Number 1 was registered to the Averill Chemical Paint Company of New York, N.Y. The mark was in the form of a logo.

Trademarks and service marks are treated equally under law and commonly referred to as marks. Marks can be registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Some U.S. states offer trademark registration.

Trade Names are names used to identify any person, partnership, corporation, firm, association, society, foundation, federation or organization doing business in this state, or any foreign corporation licensed to exercise its corporate powers in Arizona. A trade name can be registered with Secretary of State of some U.S. states.

Copyrights provide rights to any original work of authorship or artistry fixed in any tangible medium of expression. Copyright provides legal protection for written material, computer programs, musical works, dramatic works, choreographic works, pictorial works, graphic works, sculptural works, motion pictures and sound recordings. Copyrights can be registered with the United States Copyright Office, a division of the Library of congress. On June 9, 1790 the first copyright was issued to author John Barry registered his work, “The Philadelphia Spelling Book,” making it the first “writing” protected by copyright

Trade Secrets include any valuable commercial information that provides a business with an advantage over competitors who do not have that information. In general terms trade secrets include inventions, ideas or compilations of data that are used by a business to become more successful. Specifically, trade secrets include any useful formula, plan, pattern, process, program, tool, technique, mechanism, compound, or device that is not generally known or readily ascertainable by the public. Trade secret misappropriation can be thought of as a type of unfair competition. Trade secrets are protected by the Uniform Trade Secrets Act. The formula for Coca Cola® has remained as a trade secret for more than a hundred years.

The laws, rules and regulations concerning patents, trademarks, trade names, copyright and trade secrets are individualized and separate. The laws, rules and regulations of one category of intellectual property do not apply to another category.

Client Approved


"Our company has worked with a number of patent attorneys and were so pleased when we began working with Parsons & Goltry nearly a decade ago. Mike Goltry's knowledge and attention to detail has enabled us to have numerous products patented and trademarks registered. We highly recommend this Law Firm."

- Sharon K.


"Michael Goltry is the most professional, honest and effective patent attorney whom I ever met in my 40 year professional engineering career. I started to work with him over 20 years ago and plan to work indefinitely."

- Zoltan Kemeny, PhD, Struct. Eng.


"Mr. Goltry took a provisional patent that we'd filed ourselves, and quickly and professionally turned our innovation into U.S. and foreign applications. His [patent claims] were a thing of beauty, and I was amazed by how deftly he countered the inevitable office actions. His language held up, and the U.S. Patent just issued. He was easy and efficient to work with, and his fees were remarkably reasonable. We're not planning to go anywhere else, ever."

- Ski Milburn, CEO, Victori, LLC


"I applied for a patent through Parsons & Goltry. After being on the docket for 2 years at the USPTO, I received notification that my patent request had been denied. Michael Goltry contacted me immediately to review my options. After I informed him of my decision to move forward, he filed a response to the USPTO. In his response he got the examiner to fully understand the claims in the patent application and the "denied" decision was reversed. I was able to secure and receive a "patent granted" decision. Thank you, Michael Goltry."

- Kathy H., Inventor


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