How can I protect my innovations? I’ve heard of patents, trademarks, trade secrets, etc.

To protect your innovation, you can apply for a US patent. Its owner can stop anyone else (an “infringer”) frommaking, using, or selling the patented invention in the US. In fact, the owner of the patent can stop an infringer even if the infringer independently developed the technology themselves by accident.

There are three other ways to protect your intellectual property, although these FAQs focus on patents. They are:

  • Trademarks: Protects your brand
  • Copyrights: Protects your creative works
  • Trade Secrets: Protects information that is valuable to a company (e.g., processes of making things, formulas, customer lists, etc.).


Steven Saunders is an Intellectual Property Attorney at the Boston-based law firm, Nutter. Steven can be reached at

For more information about Steven, See Steven’s Martin Trust Center Biography at:

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