A trademark is any single or combination of words, symbol, or design that identifies and singles out a product's creator as different from its competitors. A servicemark is any single or combination of words, symbol, or design that identifies a service provider and is usually considered under the umbrella of trademarks.
Patents are rights granted by the federal government and cover original inventions and guarantees exclusive rights for a limited term to the inventor. There are three types of patents for which an inventor can apply: utility patents, design patents and plant patents.
The legal protection of exclusive rights granted for a product’s appearance not related to its functionality for a limited term. Industrial design rights cover any single or combination of shape, configuration, and composition of pattern or color in two- or three-dimentions.
Trade secrets are information or techniques that hold enough financial value for the creator to keep that information or technique secret. Trade secrets are usually protected by non-disclosure agreements (a legal contract prohibiting the sharing of the information or technique) and not by legislation because registration makes that information public. Therefore, the term limit on trade secrets is only specified by the non-disclosure agreement and can be kept indefinitely.
Designations of origin are applied to food products or agricultural product in which the definging characteristics of the product are dependant on the region and specific techniques used in its production to insure quality.