Table 1

The same product may have aspects that may be covered by all four types of intellectual property. For example, suppose a metallurgist invents a secret process for manufacturing a novel and non-obvious aluminum alloy for use in the aircraft industry. The metallurgist prepares a technical paper for publication describing various mechanical properties of the alloy. The metallurgist also comes up with a new name for this alloy: Alumamax™.

A patent could cover a novel, non-obvious, useful alloy. The process for manufacturing the alloy, if kept secret, could be protected through trade-secret law. The technical paper could be protected through copyright law. Incidentally, it does not matter that the paper has not yet been published. The alloy name could be protected through trademark law.

Table 1 summarizes what we have covered in the first section of this course.