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Difference Between Copyright, Trademark, and Patent


Last Updated on June 13, 2024 by Kanakkupillai

Innovation and creativity depend much on intellectual property (IP). It lets artists and innovators be legally protected so they may profit from their efforts. Effective protection and strategic usage depend on a knowledge of the distinctions between copyright, trademark, and patent. We will explore the nuances of trademarks, copyrights, and patents in this all-inclusive book, thereby clarifying their special qualities and the strategic reasons for registering your intellectual property.

Variation in Copyright, Trademark, and Patent Distinctions


Copyright is a form of IP security that protects original works of writing. It is instantly given upon creation in physical form, such as writing down a song or drawing a picture. Copyright protection generally lasts for 70 years post-author’s death, although this time may change based on the state. Copyright covers a wide range of original works, including words, art, buildings, and music.

Key parts of copyright include:

  • Originality: The work must be unique and not taken from another source.
  • Fixation: The work must be set in an obvious form, such as written down or taped.
  • Statement: The work must be a statement of the author’s thoughts and not just a true picture.

Examples of copyright-protected works include:

  1. Writings: books, songs, papers, and other written stuff.
  2. Art: paintings, statues, pictures, and other artistic works.
  3. Architecture: building drawings, sketches, and other architectural plans.
  4. Music: songs, tunes, and other musical works.


Trademark is a form of IP safety that protects brand names, images, and words. It is given through registration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). brand protection may be extended forever, so long as the brand is regularly used and kept. The trademark covers a huge range of brand symbols, along with brand names, images, and slogans.

Key features of the property include:

  • Distinctiveness: The mark must be unique and not general or special.
  • Use: The mark must be used in trade to identify the source of the goods or services.
  • Filing: Trademark protection is given through filing with the USPTO.

Examples of trademark-protected brand symbols include:

  1. Brand names: names of companies, goods, or services.
  2. Logos: obvious marks or pictures used to identify a brand.
  3. Slogans: catchphrases or taglines used to sell a brand.


One kind of intellectual property protection that protects fresh and useful ideas is a patent. One gets it by registering with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Though this period may also vary depending on the country, patent protection usually lasts twenty years from the date of filing. Patents include a broad range of innovations including software, tools, and devices as well as methods.

Key parts of the patent include:

  • Novelty: The idea must be new and not previously known or used.
  • Non-obviousness: The discovery must be non-obvious and not a small change of a current idea.
  • Utility: The idea must be useful and have a real application.
  • Disclosure: The idea must be fully told in the patent filing.

Examples of patent-protected ideas include:

  1. Machines: mechanical devices, such as engines, wheels, and other mechanical components.
  2. Processes: ways or steps for getting a specific result, such as manufacturing processes or software techniques.
  3. Software: computer programs, apps, and other digital things.


Every kind of IP security has special uses and advantages. Effective protection and smart usage depend on an awareness of the variances between copyright, trademark, and patent. Selecting the appropriate kind of IP protection helps artists and inventors secure their work and guarantee they get the credit and pay they are due.

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.