A trademark is defined as a recognizable sign, design, or expression that identifies a product or service from a particular source from those associated with some other source. Trademarks that are associated with services oftentimes are called service marks. A trademark is a form of intellectual property, like a patent or copyright. The owner of trademark can be an individual, business, or any legal entity under the law. A trademark itself can be placed on a package, a label, or on the product itself. In the case of a business trademark or corporate identity, a trademark oftentimes is displayed on a building.

A copyright is a legal right that is created by law that grants the creator of original work the exclusive right to it for use and distribution. A copyright provides this legal protection for a specific period of time.

A copyright does provide exclusive rights, but the copyright law itself provides for some exceptions. One primary exception is that a copyright protects the expression of ideas, but not the underlying ideas themselves. In addition, the fair use doctrine permits the limited use of copyrighted material, in a specifically delineated manner.

As is the case with patent law, trademark and copyright law can prove to be complicated. This particularly can prove to be the case when a trademark of copyright has been infringed. In such a situation, an individual or business facing a trademark or copyright infringement issue may want to give serious consideration to retaining the services of an experienced trademark attorney or copyright attorney.

As an aside, one of the benefits of creating an engineering prototype is to identify potential design flaws that are not evident in a paper construct of a new or refashioned item. Eliminating such flaws is vital before the patenting process is pursued too far down the application pathway in regard to a new design.