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Copyright Resource Guide: Trademarks and Patents vs Copyrights

A guide that provides direction and resources to faculty with regards to the application of the Teach Act, and to students with regard to intellectual property and photocopying.

What is a Trademark?

A trademark is/are unique picture(s), word(s), name(s) or membership mark(s) that is registered by the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) and used to identify goods and commodities that are distributed, marketed and sold by a business or organization. An example of a trademark would be the Ottawa University Logo on this website.

What is a Patent?

A patent is a property right granted to a/an inventor(s) by the United States government, allowing only the patent holder to sell, use in some way, or import their invention in the US.

All patents have a unique numbers are registered by the USPTO(United States Patent and Trademark Office) and their descriptions can be retrieved from the USPTO Patent Full-Text Database at

An example of a unique Patent Number is  13/327,150

This the number of a patent held by Chad O Hughes & Steven M Silva for a Network Stimulation Engine.

First Sale Doctrine Defined

In a nutshell, the first sale doctrine allows anyone who has purchased books and media that are copyrighted and trademarked by an author or creator, to have the right to resell these to another person. Thus, books and media purchased with library funds, can be sold off in a book sale or the library can sell donations or second copies of books or media on amazon. The First Sale doctrine is also the law allowing libraries to buy books and media and lend it to individuals or other libraries.

How is Copyright different from Trademarks?

Copyright protects the rights of authors and creators of literary, musical, dramatic and artistic works by limiting their reproduction; and registering these works and assigning them unique numbers through the US Copyright Office. In comparison, patents protect the rights of inventors from infringement and registers their works providing them with unique patent numbers and loading their images and descriptions in the USPTO(United States Patent and Trademark Office) Database. In comparison to patents and copyright, trademarks are unique words, marks, names or symbols used on goods that are sold to consumers, that are also registered by the USPTO.

Important Trademark Links

Library Guru

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Danielle O'Barto
Gangwish Library
Ottawa University
1001 S. Cedar St.
Ottawa, KS 66067