Difference between Copyright, Patent, Trademark

Difference Between Copyright, Patent, and Trademark?

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Copyright, patent, and trademark are all different kinds of intellectual property (IP). Although the three forms of IP are very different, people often confuse them. Copyright secures Creative or intellectual creations. Trademarks secure the branding under which products and services are sold. A patent secures inventions that are useful for the world and has some use. E.g. New inventions in the pharmaceutical industry.

A brief description of copyright, patents, and trademarks, including a short discussion of how these varieties of IP differ from copyright, is provided below.

What is Copyright?

Copyright could be a collection of rights automatically vested to you once you’ve got created an imaginative work. To grasp how these rights may be used or licensed, it’s helpful to analogize them to a bundle of sticks, where each stick represents a separate right vested to you as the owner. These rights include the right to breed the work, to arrange derivative works, to distribute copies, to perform the work publicly, and to display the work publicly.

As the copyright owner, you’ve got the authority to stay each “stick,” to transfer them individually to 1 or more people or to transfer them collectively to one or more people. This could be accomplished through licensing, assigning, and other varieties of transfers. The ability of copyright allows you to decide on the way your work is formed available to the general public.

What’s a Patent?

The primary goal of the patent law is to encourage innovation and commercialization of technological advances. Law incentivizes inventors to publicly disclose their inventions in exchange for certain exclusive rights. A patent protects inventions. These inventions can include new and useful processes, machines, manufactures, compositions of matter further as improvements to those. Certain computer programs may fall within the topic matter protected by both patents and copyrights.

In this respect, the legal system compliments copyright protection by protecting functional aspects of the software, which don’t seem to be protected by copyright. Unlike with copyright protection, to get patent protection one must first apply for and be granted a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Unlike the copyright registration process, the application process is pricey, complex, difficult, and time-consuming and usually mustn’t be attempted without the help of an experienced patent attorney or agent.

What’s a Trademark?

According to the USPTO, “a trademark may be a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the products of 1 party from those of others. A service mark may be a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of service instead of goods.

Examples include brand names, slogans, and logos. (The term “trademark” is commonly utilized in a general sense to sit down with both trademarks and service marks.)” Almost like copyright, someone doesn’t needn’t register a trademark or service mark to receive protection rights, but there are certain legal benefits to registering the mark with the USPTO. There’s rarely an overlap between trademark and copyright law but it can happen, As an example, when a graphic illustration is employed as a logo the planning could also be protected both under copyright and trademark.

Difference between Copyright Patent Trademark Table

Copyright Patents Trademark
What’s Protected?
Original works of authorship, such as books, articles, songs, photographs, sculptures, choreography, sound recordings, motion pictures, and other works Inventions, such as processes, machines, manufactures, compositions of matter as well as improvements to these Any word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others
Term of Protection
Author’s life plus 70 more years. 20 years For as long as the mark is used in commerce
Requirements to be Protected
Work must be original, creative, and fixed in a tangible medium An invention must be new, useful, and nonobvious A mark must be distinctive (i.e., that is, it must be capable of identifying the source of a particular good)
Rights Granted
Right to control the reproduction, making of derivative works, distribution and public performance, and display of the copyrighted works Right to prevent others from making, selling using, or importing the patented invention Right to use the mark and to prevent others from using similar marks in a way that would cause a likelihood-of-confusion about the origin of the goods or services


Over the years a sharp rise is observed in awareness of intellectual property laws amongst the people. Almost every business touches IP rights and requires its protection as it safeguards the valuable assets of a company/business. From the company’s brand name, any invention it has made, to the website it owns; Patent, trademark, and copyright not only secure the rights, but they also prove as an incentive for better creative expression and are a major stimulus for inspiring people to invest into research and development of projects worldwide.

Intellectual property is a wealth-creating machine giving an individual/company legitimate ownership with an image of a trustworthy organization. Every business house today relies on intellectual property rights, spending millions of dollars to secure their intellectual properties.

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