Before you rely on any search of an on-line patent database, please make sure that you understand the limitations of on-line searching. In particular, remember that key word searching usually looks only for that specific word, and may not identify documents that use a synonym or other terminology. Remember that an issued patent or any other document may include topics and information that are not necessarily apparent from the title and abstract alone. Also be aware that once you discover a patent that may cover your product, if you do not take proper steps to avoid infringing that patent, you will increase your potential liability for damages to the patent owner.
For an interesting (and entertaining) look at some unusual items that have been patented, take a look at:
You can even locate patents from many countries at the website of the European Patent Office (EPO). The EPO search capability allows you to search among European patents, patents from the Patent Cooperation Treaty, and the Japanese Patent Office.
The United States Trademark Office makes all federal trademark registrations and applications to register trademarks available on its WebSite. This information can be useful to quickly eliminate from consideration a mark that has previously been registered. However, the absence of a prior registration or registration application should not be taken as an indication that the mark is available to be adopted. The federal registration database does not include marks that are subject to state registration, or subject to "common law" rights. David Arthur and other attorneys who practice in the trademark field have access to more comprehensive databases that include these other trademarks. Also available at the Trademark Office site is information on how to file an application to register your trademark. However, before undertaking your own registration application, you should be sure that you understand the meanings of the various terms used, such as who the "applicant" is, and what "use" and "use in commerce" mean in the context of a federal trademark registration.
The United States Copyright Office maintains a website from which you can obtain publications (called "Circulars") on different aspects of copyright.
Besides the information provided here, general information about patents, trademarks, and copyrights is posted by Martindale-Hubbell, the leading attorney directory in the United States. At their site, you may get some help locating an attorney in your geographic region. The "Ask a Lawyer" section of that site allows individuals to ask questions about the law.
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Webster (NY) Presbyterian Church exists that all may come to know Jesus Christ, to love Him, and to serve Him. David currently serves on Session at Webster Presbyterian Church, working principally with the Evangelism Committee helping Church ministries share the Good News of Jesus Christ with others.
Irvine (CA) Presbyterian Church provides a home at which people are called together by God's love in Jesus Christ to love God, to love each other, and to love our neighbors. David was active at Irvine Presbyterian Church for many years before moving to New York.