Nobody can patent a buzzword ("`Buzz off my buzzword,"' News: Analysis & Commentary, June 5). A word, phrase, or design attached to goods or services, whose function is to identify the source of those goods or services, may be eligible for trademark protection but can never be patented.

The distinction is not a trivial one. Patents have a limited term. A trademark, however, can last forever. As long as the mark is properly and continuously used in interstate commerce, the mark remains a valuable company asset indefinitely.

Joseph T. Leone

DeWitt, Ross & Stevens

Madison, Wis.

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