Patents and Trademarks: How Do They Complement Each Other

The explosion of international online businesses has made it easier than ever to impermissibly use someone else’s invention or business name. Fortunately, there are two reliable legal tools for safeguarding your unique creations: patents and trademarks. In this article, we will explore the difference between patents and trademarks and why you may need to obtain both. Patents and trademarks are two distinct forms of intellectual property protection, but they can complement each other in certain cases. While patents protect the functional aspects of an invention, trademarks safeguard the brand identity associated with a product or service.

What is a patent?

Patents grant inventors exclusive rights to their inventions for a limited period, typically 20 years from the filing date. They protect the underlying technology or functionality of an invention, preventing others from making, using, or selling the patented invention without permission. Patents are crucial for safeguarding novel and non-obvious inventions that offer practical applications.

What is a trademark?

On the other hand, trademarks protect brand names, logos, slogans, and other distinctive marks that help consumers identify and distinguish products or services from different sources. Trademarks play a vital role in establishing brand recognition and consumer trust. They enable businesses to build goodwill and reputation by ensuring that customers associate specific qualities with their products or services.

The importance of obtaining both patents and trademarks

In some cases, patents and trademarks can overlap. For example, if an inventor uses a design patent to protect the unique appearance of an invention and customers identify the source of the product based on its appearance, both a trademark and a patent can be used to protect the product. In this way, using patent and trademark protection together provides the most comprehensive coverage and protection for a product and a business.

How to obtain a patent and a trademark

It’s important to note that while patents and trademarks can provide valuable protection for intellectual property, they serve different purposes and require separate applications. Consulting with an intellectual property attorney can help individuals and businesses navigate the complexities of patent and trademark law to ensure comprehensive protection for their innovations and brands.

Patents and trademarks are essential in protecting your unique creations. Whether you’re an individual inventor or a business owner, you need to obtain these legal protections to safeguard your intellectual property. Obtaining both can offer the highest level of protection for your inventions and brand name. At Parsons & Goltry, PLLC, we offer various legal services to help you protect your invention and have the knowledge to prepare you through the application process properly. Contact us today to learn more!

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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