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Intellectual Property: Patents, Trademarks, and Copyright


The purpose of this guide is to help you find information about patents (exclusive right granted for an invention) trademarks (any word, phrase, symbol, design, or a combination of these things that identifies your goods or services), and copyright (protects original works of authorship as soon as an author fixes the work in a tangible form of expression), which are all types of intellectual property. What is intellectual property? The United States Patent and Trademark Office defines it as: "Creations of the mind - creative works or ideas embodied in a form that can be shared or can enable others to recreate, emulate, or manufacture them."

There are four main ways to protect intellectual property - patents, trademarks, trade secrets, and copyright. Click on the tabs at the left to learn more about patents, trademarks, and copyright.


Patent & Trademark Resource Center logo

R.M. Cooper Library at Clemson University is a Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC) of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

As a PTRC, we provide reference assistance and outreach to the public on patent and trademark-related matters, offer patent and trademark training, and can demonstrate how to use search tools to conduct a patent or trademark search.   The Library is open to the public, and there is no charge to use our materials and services.

Resources for Independent Inventors and Small Businesses

Patent Pro Bono Program : The Program provides free legal assistance to under-resourced inventors interested in securing patent protection for their inventions.

Law School Clinic Certification Program:  Includes over 60 participating law school clinics that provide legal services pro bono to the public, including to inventors, entrepreneurs, and small businesses, if accepted as a client.

Patent Practitioner Search:  A database of patent practitioners eligible to represent others before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in patent matters.