FAQ g120005- USPTO
How do I find out if I need a patent, trademark or a copyright?
Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights are three types of intellectual property protection. They are different and serve different purposes.
Patents protect inventions, and improvements to existing inventions.
Trademarks include any word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination, used, or intended to be used in commerce to identify and distinguish the goods of one manufacturer or seller from goods manufactured or sold by others, and to indicate the source of the goods. Service marks include any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used, or intended to be used, in commerce, to identify and distinguish the services of one provider from services provided by others, and to indicate the source of the services.
Copyrights protect literary, artistic, and musical works. For general information, publications and other copyright related topics, you may visit their Web site at http://www.copyright.gov . Copyrights information can be obtained from the U.S. Copyright Office, Library of Congress, Washington, DC 20559 or you may call 202 707-3000 or 202 707-6737 (TTY).