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Legal Weapons Against Pirates

PATENT: Protects processes (such as new manufacturing techniques), inventions (Velcro), and ornamental designs (a novel computer icon). The owner can bar others from making, using, or selling the innovation for about 17 years.

TRADEMARK: Safeguards the words, names, and symbols companies use to identify their products and services. Examples include the Pillsbury Doughboy, the term ``Ivory Soap,'' the Kodak symbol.

COPYRIGHT: Covers traditional creative works such as novels, songs, and movies, as well as products such as wallpaper. They overlap with patents: Chisco could have copywritten its distinctive watchband or sought a design patent.

TRADE DRESS: A subset of trademark law that protects the packaging and display of a product, such as the distinct shape of the Club or the markings on Head & Shoulders shampoo bottles.


Updated June 14, 1997 by bwwebmaster
Copyright 1996, Bloomberg L.P.
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