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Types of Intellectual Property Coverage

posted Jan 17, 2013, 4:04 PM by Robert Crownover
It is all too easy to specialize and focus only on a single area of IP, like patents, trademarks, trade secrets, or copyrights. However clients generally have intellectual property that spans several of these rights simultaneously. Below is a chart that attempts to provide a thorough overview of the various IP rights.

The table below briefly describes the various types of intellectual property protection available. Some helpful links are included.

Property Type:

Scope of protection:      

Type of protection:  



Plant Patent

New Plant variety, asexually reproduced

Used to prevent asexual reproduction, selling, or using the variety of plant.

20 years from filing.

Damages, injunctions, Attorney's fees.

Utility Patent

Functional aspects of an idea, invention, or solution.

Used to prevent making, using, selling, importing, or offering the invention for sale.

20 years from filing.

Damages, injunctions, Attorney's fees.

Design Patent

Ornamental design on an article of manufacture.

Used to prevent making, using, copying, or importing a similar design.

14 years from issuance.

Damages, injunctions, Attorney's fees, infringer's profits.


words, names, symbols, sounds, smells, trade dress.

Prevent consumer confusion, and deception.

Forever as long as properly used.

Damages, profits, punitive damages, injunction, seizure, statutory damages.


Artistic expression

Used to prevent copying, distribution, performance or display of the expression.

Generally it is the life of the author plus 70 years. Many exceptions exist.

 Statutory damages, damages, injunctions, and seizures. 

Trade secret     

Secrets having value from being secret.

Used to prevent misappropriation or improper disclosure.

Forever as long as the secret is properly maintained.

Damages, punitive damages, attorney fees, injunctions.