Trademark or Patent? or Copyright? CBP Recordation? What’s the difference? Do they protect the same things?

Trademarks, copyrights, and patents protect different  types of intellectual property in different ways. All three of these types of intellectual property offer protection for different terms of time, have different costs to acquire and are enforced in different ways. All three of these types of protection can be backed up by Intellectual Property Rights through the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) IPR.


Here’s an example of a product protected by a Patent, two Trademarks, multiple Copyrights and protected by multiple Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Recordations: Let’s say that your company invents a new innovative battery, let’s brand it ‘NOVBAT’.

Patent Protection: A nonprovisional utility patent could help protect your new battery from infringing use for 20 years from the filing date of the application. The average time for a patent to issue is about 3 years. About 50% of nonprovisional patent applications issue into patents. See uspatentstatistics.com for more information.

Trademark Protection: (1) The brand name NOVBAT could be used as a trademark and (2) its logo could be registered on the USPTO Trademark Principal Register. (3) Unique non-functional aspects of the packaging or the product could also be registered as a trademark. A trademark is enforceable for as long as the trademark is in use and all of the procedural steps are followed and fees are paid. The trademark application could even be filed for the trademark before the trademark is in use as an intent-to-use application. The average time for a trademark (that is already being used in commerce) to register is about 11 months. About 50% of trademark applications issue into registered trademarks. See trademarkstatistics.com for more information.

Copyright Protection: (1) An artistic label that is on the product, shipped with the product or is used in advertising could be registered as a copyright. (The same label could also be the subject of a trademark.) (2) Advertisements could be protected by copyright. (3) Web page artistic design and content can be protected by copyright. Most copyrights register very quickly, most online filers should receive a certificate within 4.5 months of submission or sooner. See Copyrights for more information.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Recordations: (1) The 3 trademarks for NOVBAT can be recorded with CBP; the Copyrighted label can be recorded with CBP; and if applicable, a protection order could be obtained for the patent. If your business name is not trademarked, it could be protected with CBP as a trade name.

Why would someone want to protect a product in one, two ways or all three ways? Enforcement of rights can be difficult. Unregistered trademarks do not have all of the benefits of registered trademarks. See Why Trademark? for more information. Patents can take a long time to issue and can be difficult to enforce. See Patent Enforcement. Registered trademarks and copyrights can be protected by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). See Trademark Enforcement. Many states also have counterfeiting laws that are tied to trademarks. If you can stop an infringing patented product from being imported into the the U.S. or moving through commerce using trademark or copyright  or patent protection, your innovation can be protected better.

More about Customs and Border Protection through IPR. The trade in counterfeit and pirated goods threatens America’s innovation economy, the competitiveness of our businesses, the livelihoods of U.S. workers, and, in some cases, national security and the health and safety of consumers. The trade in these illegitimate goods is associated with smuggling and other criminal activities, and often funds criminal enterprises. CBP protects businesses and consumers every day through an aggressive IPR enforcement program. CBP targets and seizes imports of counterfeit and pirated goods, and enforces exclusion orders on patent-infringing and other IPR violative goods.


What Is a Patent?

A patent for an invention is the grant of a property right to the inventor, issued by the Patent and Trademark Office. The term of a new patent is 20 years from the date on which the application for the patent was filed in the United States or, in special cases, from the date an earlier related application was filed, subject to the payment of maintenance fees. US patent grants are effective only within the US, US territories, and US possessions.

The right conferred by the patent grant is, in the language of the statute and of the grant itself, “the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling” the invention in the United States or “importing” the invention into the United States. What is granted is not the right to make, use, offer for sale, sell or import, but the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, selling or importing the invention.      (Excerpted from: http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/doc/general/whatis.htm)

What Is a Trademark or Servicemark?

A trademark is a word, name, symbol or device which is used in trade with goods to indicate the source of the goods and to distinguish them from the goods of others. A servicemark is the same as a trademark except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product. The terms "trademark" and "mark" are commonly used to refer to both trademarks and servicemarks.

Trademark rights may be used to prevent others from using a confusingly similar mark, but not to prevent others from making the same goods or from selling the same goods or services under a clearly different mark. Trademarks which are used in interstate or foreign commerce may be registered with the Patent and Trademark Office. The registration procedure for trademarks and general information concerning trademarks is described in a separate pamphlet entitled "Basic Facts about Trademarks".     (Excerpted from: http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/doc/general/whatis.htm)



What Is a Copyright?

Copyright is a form of protection provided to the authors of “original works of authorship” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works, both published and unpublished. The 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to reproduce the copyrighted work, to prepare derivative works, to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work, to perform the copyrighted work publicly, or to display the copyrighted work publicly.

The copyright protects the form of expression rather than the subject matter of the writing. For example, a description of a machine could be copyrighted, but this would only prevent others from copying the description; it would not prevent others from writing a description of their own or from making and using the machine. Copyrights are registered by the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress.     (Excerpted from: http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/doc/general/whatis.htm)


What is Recordation with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)?

Validly registered trademarks and copyrights and unregistered trade names can be recorded with CBP through the Intellectual Property Rights e-Recordation (IPRR) online system . ( Intellectual Property Rights e-Recordation (IPRR) ) CBP’s on-line recordation allows rights owners to electronically record their trademarks and copyrights with CBP, and makes IPR recordation information readily available to CBP personnel, facilitating IPR seizures by CBP. CBP uses this recordation information to actively monitor shipments and prevent the importation or exportation of infringing goods.

Not Just Patents can record your registered trademarks, registered copyrights and unregistered trade names for protection and develop a custom Identification Guide for CBP agents to use to identify possible counterfeits goods that infringe on your rights.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of the nation’s borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. Laws including trademark, copyright and patent Intellectual Property Rights.


Need Help Knowing Which Intellectual Property Tool is Best for You? Call Us At

1-651-500-7590 in the U.S.


Our rates are very reasonable. If you have already received a patent or trademark refusal, we can provide a quick and economical Response to Office Action (ROA). If you are being threatened by a trademark opposition or cancellation or wish to pursue opposing or canceling someone’s trademark that is damaging yours where you have superior rights, we can represent you. See Published for Opposition and  Opposition Steps/Cancellation Steps for more information.


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For more information from Not Just Patents, see our other sites:      

Steps to a Patent    How to Patent An Invention

Should I Get A Trademark or Patent?

Trademark e Search    Strong Trademark     Enforcing Trade Names

Common Law Trademarks  Trademark Goodwill   Abandoned Trademarks

Patentability Evaluation

Chart of Patent vs. Trade Secret

Trademark Disclaimers   Trademark Dilution     TSDR Status Descriptors

Oppose or Cancel? Examples of Disclaimers  Business Name Cease and Desist

Sample Patent, Trademark & Copyright Inventory Forms

Verify a Trademark  Be First To File    How to Trademark Search

Are You a Content Provider-How to Pick an ID  Specimens: webpages

How to Keep A Trade Secret

State & Federal Trade Secret Laws

Using Slogans (Taglines), Model Numbers as Trademarks

Which format? When Should I  Use Standard Characters?

Shop Rights  What is a Small or Micro Entity?

Patent Drawings

Opposition Pleadings    UDRP Elements    

Oppositions-The Underdog

How To Answer A Trademark Cease and Desist Letter

Converting Provisional to Nonprovisional Patent Application (or claiming benefit of)

Trademark Refusals    Does not Function as a Mark Refusals

How to Respond to Office Actions

What is a Compact Patent Prosecution?

Acceptable Specimen       Supplemental Register   $199 Statement of Use

How To Show Acquired Distinctiveness Under 2(f)

Patent search-New invention

Patent Search-Non-Obvious

Trademark Attorney for Overcoming Office Actions Functional Trademarks   How to Trademark     

What Does ‘Use in Commerce’ Mean?    

Grounds for Opposition & Cancellation     Cease and Desist Letter

Trademark Incontestability  TTAB Manual (TBMP)

Valid/Invalid Use of Trademarks     Trademark Searching

TTAB/TBMP Discovery Conferences & Stipulations

TBMP 113 Service of TTAB Documents  TBMP 309 Standing

Examples and General Rules for Likelihood of Confusion

USPTO Search Method for Likelihood of Confusion

Examples of Refusals for Likelihood of Confusion   DuPont Factors

What are Dead or Abandoned Trademarks?

 Can I Use An Abandoned Trademark?

Color as Trade Dress  3D Marks as Trade Dress  

Can I Abandon a Trademark During An Opposition?

Differences between TEAS and TEAS plus  

How do I Know If Someone Has Filed for An Extension of Time to Oppose?

Ornamental Refusal  Standard TTAB Protective Order

SCAM Letters Surname Refusal


What Does Published for Opposition Mean?

What to Discuss in the Discovery Conference

Descriptive Trademarks Trademark2e.com  

Likelihood of Confusion 2d

Acquired Distinctiveness  2(f) or 2(f) in part

Merely Descriptive Trademarks  

Merely Descriptive Refusals

ID of Goods and Services see also Headings (list) of International Trademark Classes

Register a Trademark-Step by Step  

Protect Business Goodwill Extension of Time to Oppose

Geographically Descriptive or Deceptive

Likelihood of confusion-Circuit Court tests

Pseudo Marks    How to Reply to Cease and Desist Letter

Not Just Patents Often Represents the Underdog

 Overcome Merely Descriptive Refusal   Overcome Likelihood Confusion

Protecting Trademark Rights (Common Law)

Steps in a Trademark Opposition Process   

Section 2(d) Refusals   FilingforTrademark.com

Zombie Trademark  

What is the Difference between Principal & Supplemental Register?

Typical Brand Name Refusals  What is a Family of Marks? What If Someone Files An Opposition Against My Trademark?

How to Respond Office Actions  

DIY Overcoming Descriptive Refusals

Trademark Steps Trademark Registration Answers TESS  

Trademark Searching Using TESS  Trademark Search Tips

Trademark Clearance Search   DIY Trademark Strategies

Published for Opposition     What is Discoverable in a TTAB Proceeding?

Counterclaims and Affirmative Defenses


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