According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, a patent is an "intellectual property right granted by the Government of the United States of America to an inventor to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States for a limited time in exchange for public disclosure of the invention when the patent is granted." There are three types of patents: utility patents, design patents, and plant patents.
According to the USPTO: "A trademark is a brand name. A trademark or service mark includes any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used or intended to be used to identify and distinguish the goods/services of one seller or provider from those of others, and to indicate the source of the goods/services. Although federal registration of a mark is not mandatory, it has several advantages, including notice to the public of the registrant's claim of ownership of the mark, legal presumption of ownership nationwide, and exclusive right to use the mark on or in connection with the goods/services listed in the registration."
The USPTO also offers a trademark search, as well as many other resources related to trademarks. Please see the USPTO's trademark section for a complete listing of their services:
According to the U.S. Copyright Office, copyright is protection provided by law to the authors of "original works of authorship." The University of Michigan's Copyright Office which has great resources on copyright and an informed staff that is ready to answer questions.