Copyright Vs Trademark – How They Compare & Contrast
Trademark & Copyright

Copyright Vs Trademark – How They Compare & Contrast

Intellectual Property

There is a term called Intellectual Property. Among various things, the intellectual property also contains trademark and copyright, Now, the question is how do these terms differ from each other.  

Eventually, intellectual property & brand identity can be as important as earning revenues in your business. For instance, what would happen if somebody begins to sell your product using the name of your company and your logo as an endorsement without your consent – how will this impact your business?  

Well, fortunately, with the development of copyrights and trademarks, you can safeguard your business and also file a case against those who are illegally using your brand and intellectual property without your permission. So, here we present the difference between copyrights and trademarks. This will help you understand which one may be applicable to your business. You will know how to properly protect your intellectual property.

Also read Know About Trademark Registration Process & Advantages

Copyright Vs Trademark – Know The Difference

Well, both trademark and copyright are types of intellectual property. They can be defined as intangible assets or may be creations of the mind—just like designs, inventions, literary & artistic works, symbols, names, and images used in commerce.

As for intellectual property for businesses, this consist of business ideas, also the works or processes that emerge from these ideas. Well, in the U.S., trademarks and copyrights and even patents, are used to legally protect intellectual property.

Thus, the main difference between copyright vs. trademark is : While both offer intellectual property protection, they actually protect different kinds of assets and have different registration requirements.

To put it straight, copyright protects literary & artistic materials and works, like books & videos, and thus it is automatically generated upon creation of the work. On the other hand, a trademark protects such types of items that help define a company brand. These may include the business logo or slogan. They may need more detailed registration through the government for the greatest legal protections.

Let us split the details of each of these protections individually in order to know the differences better:

Entities Protected By A Copyright

A copyright is a type of intellectual property protection that includes in its Ambit, the original works and is created automatically by the creation of those works.

  • Copyright covers literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, that include:
  • Novels
  • Poetry
  • Other forms of original writing
  • Art
  • Research
  • Movies
  • Songs
  • Other forms of audio and video materials
  • Computer software
  • Architecture

Thus, until the original creation is preserved in some form, it gets protected under copyright when it's created. However, works that are not available in some tangible form—like a speech that wasn't written down or recorded, this cannot be copyrighted.

There are some more works that cannot be copyrighted, these include:

  • Ideas
  • Discoveries
  • Principles

Those works that are in the public domain, or we can say, the works for which the copyright has expired, forfeited, waived cannot be copyrighted again. However, the public domain varies from country to country.

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The Mode And Method Of Protecting Copyright

So, as we know now, in addition to what copyright and trademarks protect, one more difference between the two is how these intellectual properties are protected.

Also, though copyright is generated automatically upon creation of a work, there are various precautions that should be there to ensure potential copyright infringers don’t use your work without permission.

A Trademark Protects What

On the other hand, trademark is a kind of intellectual property protection that includes words, symbols, designs, phrases that makes a particular brand (or source of goods) different in comparison to others.

Thus, a trademark protects the following items:

Brand names

Business names



Therefore, a trademark can be anything that brands a business or marks out a product or company. Following are some instances:

The hexagonal screw-top Tabasco bottle is trademarked.

Subway sandwiches trademarks one full word “Footlong,”

The symbol of McDonalds Golden Arch is trademarked.

It's important to distinguish differentiate a trademark and a service mark. While the word "trademark" is mostly used to include both trademarks and service marks, a service mark is also used to distinguish one type of business service from those provided by another.

Another significant difference between copyright & trademark is while copyrights expire after a set period, trademarks do not expire. On the whole, the rights of trademark come in from actual use.

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