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Patent FAQ

What is the difference between a design patent and a trademark?

A design patent protects any new and original ornamental design of an article of manufacture. A trademark protects a word or words, name, symbol or drawing that is used in commerce to distinguish one source of goods or services from another.

Put another way, a design patent would protect the physical appearance of a unique lamp you are planning to sell to the public (so long as that appearance does not affect the lamp's function in any way). A trademark would protect the symbols or words you use to identify the lamp as coming from your particular business. In certain circumstances, both forms of protection may be available to cover a single design, providing potential advantages for the owner of these rights.

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