So you want to obtain a trademark, a copyright or is it a patent?
Trademarks are usually names, symbols, designs or phrases that are used by a person or business to identify its/his products and/or services and to distinguish those products or services from competitors’ products or services.
As long as a trademark is in use in commerce in the U.S., it can last indefinitely. Five years after registration, the owner must show commercial use of the mark in the U.S. A trademark registration must be renewed every 10 years from the registration date.
An example of a trademark would be the Golden Arches that McDonald’s restaurants use.
Copyrights cover artistic works such as literary works like books, magazines and computer code; visual works such as paintings and sculptures; musical and dramatic works such as sound recordings, films, and theatre; and architectural works such as designs. Copyrights now last for the life of the creator plus 70 years or for 95 years if it is considered a work for hire.
Copyrights can no longer be renewed but the span of a copyright has been changed over the years by Congress so it will vary depending upon when the work was created.
Patents are technical inventions that are novel. Patents could cover a method or design. Patents give the owner a monopoly on the invention for 20 years and they are not renewable.
For example, a new formulation for a prescription drug can be patented.