|Process, machine, manufacture, composition of matter, or improvement thereof.
|Any distinct word, name, symbol, or device used to identify a source of goods or services.
|Original work of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression.
|Commercially valuable information not generally known or readily ascertainable, if reasonable efforts are used to keep it secret.
|Must be useful, novel and non-obvious.
|Inherently distinctive if arbitrary, fanciful, or suggestive.
|Fixed if it is sufficiently permanent (written down, recorded, painted, saved electronically, etc.)
|Disclosure to one person without confidence may destroy a trade secret.
|Also distinctive if descriptive with acquired secondary meaning.
|Originality requires some amount of creativity by the author.
|More efforts required for more valuable secrets.
|U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Application required.
|U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for federal protection. Secretary of State’s office for state protection. Registration advised but not required.
|U.S. Copyright Office within the Library of Congress. Registration advised by not required.
|Right to exclude others from making, using, selling, or offering for sale in U.S. or importing to U.S.
|Right to stop others from using confusingly similar marks in commerce.
|Exclusive right to reproduce, prepare derivative works, distribute, perform publicly, and display publicly.
|Right to sue others from improperly acquiring the trade secret or breaching confidence regarding the trade secret. Does not prevent reverse engineering.
|TM or SM if not registered with USPTO.
|“Copyright” or ©, year of first publication, author’s name.
|Notice to show confidential nature to employees and anyone else with access to the information.
|Pat. No. ######.
|® if registered with USPTO.
|© 2023 Joe Smith.
|Generally, 20 years from the earliest US filing date for which priority is claimed. Provisional applications are excluded in this calculation.
|Non-registered: No limit as long as you continually use it.
|Life of the author plus 70 years.
|No limit as long as it still qualifies as a trade secret.
|Registered: No limit as long as you continually use it and file appropriate renewal papers.
|Work for hire: the earlier of 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation.
|Every claim limitation in the patent is found, literally or equivalently, in the accused device or method.
|Infringer’s mark causes a likelihood of confusion with your mark.
|Infringer has copied your work without permission.
|Another has knowingly misappropriated your trade secret for his or her own gain or to harm you.
|If your mark is famous, then you can also sue if another dilutes or tarnishes your mark.
|Infringer’s work is substantially similar to yours.