Patent

  1. The filing and allowance of an application for patent.
  2. The invention must have no exact predecessor, and must be more than an obvious improvement or combination of the prior art.
  3. Enabling description — requires public disclosure of the invention plus how to make and use it.
  4. Marking the invention with “patent pending” and, when issued, with the patent number.

Copyright

  1. Original authorship.
  2. Fixed in a tangible medium (performances are not protected).
  3. Registration before a lawsuit is filed (for U.S. origin works).
  4. May require at least partial public disclosure of the work in the Copyright Office.
  5. Adding copyright notice provides additional benefits.

Trade Secret

  1. Relative secrecy.
  2. Must give competitive advantage.
  3. Must use reasonable efforts to keep secret.

Trademark

  1. Use – geographic, over time, on different goods and services.
  2. Additional benefits if registered.
  3. Provide notice by using TM, SM or ® (R in a circle).