Our series on how intellectual property can protect additive-manufacturing products and processes continues.
Protecting Other Aspects of the RACEFORKPRINTINGSM Process
The manufacturer may decide to protect the name of the process using service mark or certification mark protection. Service marks are similar to trademarks in that they protect the words, symbols, colors and sounds in association with services.
Service mark rights are acquired through use. Service marks can also be registered at the USPTO and with individual state governments to obtain additional rights. If the manufacturer wants to allow other entities to use the RACEFORKPRINTINGSM process, the manufacturer could license the service mark to those entities.
Alternatively, the manufacturer could use certification marks to police third-party use of the process. Certification marks are similar to trademarks and service marks, except that the products or services that are marked by certification marks can be produced by third parties. Certification marks can be used “to certify regional or other origin, material, mode of manufacture, quality, accuracy or other characteristics of such person’s goods or services or that the work or labor on the goods or services was performed by members of a union or other organization.” 15 U.S.C. § 1127.
Finally, the manufacturer can use copyright protection to protect the product literature and the technical papers. See https://www.uspto.gov/trademarks-getting-started/trademark-basics/trademark-patent-or-copyright (“copyright protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software and architecture”).
More next time.