Skip to Main Content

Entrepreneurship @CWRU

Advancing Entrepreneurship Literacy – Veale Grant 2022

Get Online Help

Reminder: Online Access

  • Library resources require going through CWRU Single Sign-On.
  • The best method is to follow links from the library website.
  • When logged in and a browser window is not closed, access should continue from resource to resource.
  • Remember to close your browser when done.

Intellectual Property Rights

Intellectual property (IP) rights are included in the U.S. Constitution Article I, Section 8. In the U.S., there are several areas of intellectual property including patents, copyright, trademarks, and trade secrets. The IP rights are administered by two government agencies, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and the U.S. Copyright Office.



  • Patent - the property right of the inventor that "exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling” the invention in the United States or importing the invention into the United States. (USPTO)



  • Copyright - protection provided to the authors of "original works of authorship" including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works, both published and unpublished. (USPTO)



Trademark or Servicemark - word, name, symbol, or device used to distinguish the goods or services from those of others (USPTO)

Check for existing Intellectual Property Rights

When considering designing or improving a product or service, it is best practice to check for any existing intellectual property to avoid infringement on the legal rights  of the creators of  inventions, designs, and artistic works.




Searching for patents will help determine the novelty of your idea by identifying any similar technologies and the companies that produce them as well as avoiding infringement claims later in the process. Patents also offer a plethora of technical information that not available anywhere else. In the United States patent protection lasts 20 years from the date of filing and is subject to the payment of maintenance fees.

Patents are freely available. Searching for patents, however, is difficult when carried using only keywords and not taking advantage of the advanced search strategies.

Learn more about searching for patents:



To be protected by copyright, works have to be original and fixated in a tangible form of expression, regardless of whether these are unpublished or published. The copyright law applies to many different types of artistic works, including paintings, photographs, illustrations, musical compositions, sound recordings, computer programs, books, poems, blog posts, movies, architectural works, plays, etc.

The length of the copyright protection depends among other factors on whether it has been published and the date of first publication.

Learn more about copyright:


Copyright duration for works first published in the United States, chart produced by Public Domain Sherpa. Additional information on public domain and copyright for other types of works is also available on this website.




Search to see if someone else already registered a trademark you consider or a similar one using the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) database maintained by the USPTO.

Apply for Intellectual Property Rights








Apply to protect your trademark.

CWRU Libraries Discovery