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Difference Between Copyright, Trademark, and Patent


Variation in Copyright, Trademark, and Patent Distinctions

In the world of intellectual property, three distinct categories stand out: Copyright, Patent, and Trademark. Each category serves a unique purpose, governed by specific laws and regulations. Understanding the differences among them is crucial for creators, inventors, and businesses looking to protect their intellectual assets. In this article, we delve into these categories, their types of protection, validity, reach, what they secure, the rights they grant, and any provisional application requirements.


  • Governed under: The Copyright Act, 1957
  • Types of protection & work: Copyright provides protection for original works of art, literature, theatre, and various forms of expression. It safeguards creative and intellectual creations.
  • Validity & reach: Copyright protection lasts for the remainder of the author’s life plus 60 years after their death. It offers wide-ranging protection, covering creations globally.
  • Secures: Copyright secures creative or intellectual creations, giving the owner control over their distribution, public performance, display, reproduction, and the creation of derivative works.
  • Rights granted: Copyright holders have the authority to control how their works are distributed, performed in public, displayed, reproduced, and even the creation of derivative works.
  • Requirement of provisional application: Copyright does not require a provisional application.


  • Governed under: The Patents Act, 1970
  • Types of protection & work: Patents offer protection for new, unique, and industrially useful inventions. This category protects innovations with practical applications and benefits to society.
  • Validity & reach: Patents are valid for 20 years, beginning on the day of the patent application’s submission. It’s essential to note that patents are territorial, meaning they only apply to the specific country they are granted in. For international protection, separate patent applications must be filed in each country.
  • Secures: Patents secure groundbreaking innovations that have real-world applications and benefits to the world.
  • Rights granted: Patent holders have the right to stop others from manufacturing, distributing, or importing the patented innovation. This exclusive right is essential for protecting inventions and encouraging innovation.
  • Requirement of provisional application: In the case of patents, a provisional application can be filed within 12 months of the initial application. It allows applicants to secure an early priority date while preparing the complete specification.


  • Governed under: Trademarks Act, 1999
  • Types of protection & work: Trademarks protect the distinctive elements that set a brand apart from others. This includes names, logos, shapes, colors, and other branding elements. Trademarks are crucial for brand identity and recognition.
  • Validity & reach: Trademarks can have perpetual validity. By renewing the trademark after every 10 years, it can be protected indefinitely. However, like patents, trademarks are territorial and must be applied for separately in each country where protection is needed.
  • Secures: Trademarks secure the branding elements used to sell goods and services. They are instrumental in building brand recognition and consumer trust.
  • Rights granted: Trademark owners have the right to use their mark exclusively and can prevent others from using marks that are similar in a way that could lead to confusion about the source of products or services.
  • Requirement of provisional application: Provisional applications are not a part of trademark registration. However, conducting a trademark search is a recommended step in the trademark registration process.

Conclusion: Difference Between Copyright, Trademark, and Patent

In summary, the categories of Copyright, Patent, and Trademark offer distinct forms of protection for intellectual property. Copyright safeguards creative works, patents protect innovations, and trademarks secure brand identity. Understanding the differences and the nuances of these categories is vital for anyone looking to protect their intellectual assets.

G.Durghasree B.A.B.L (Hons)

G Durghasree B.A.B.L (Hons) is a registered trademark attorney with extensive experience as an Advocate for a period of 8 years. She possesses expertise in trademark law, including trademark filing and trademark hearings. Additionally, she is skilled in contract drafting and reviewing, providing legal advice and opinions, particularly in the areas of Company Law, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), and Goods and Service Tax Law (GST). Her experience encompasses both litigation and non-litigation aspects of these laws.