Copyright vs Trademark – Difference and Comparison

What is Copyright?

Copyright is the protection of the rights of an originator of intellectual property that becomes automatic once the property is set in a tangible form of expression. These intellectual property works can be paintings, poems, movies, blog posts, and so on.

Before the work is expressed tangibly, copyright does not apply. Copyright has to have both originality and fixation. Work has originality when it is independently created, that is, without copying.

Fixation is when a work is captured in such a way that it can be perceived, communicated, or reproduced in the long term. For example, a work is fixed when it is written down and published.

In copyright law, employers can have the copyright to work that is made by their employees under an understanding of the same. This also applies to contractual and commissioned work where an individual is tasked with creating work for the employer.

The owner of the copyright has the right to reproduce the work, distribute it through sales, perform it publicly, and display it to the public.

Copyright lasts about 70 years from the time of death of the originator. After this, the work now becomes part of the public domain.

What is Trademark?

A trademark is a symbol, sign, or phrase that represents a certain product or service belonging to a specific brand. A trademark helps a company differentiate their product and services from its competitors.

There are different types of trademarks. One of them is generic marks. A generic mark is when a brand becomes so popular that it becomes synonymous with the product. For example, Google.

We also have descriptive marks, suggestive marks, fanciful marks, and arbitrary marks.

To register a trademark, you have to first check whether it already exists or is similar to an existing one. You also have to ensure that it complies with the requirements of registration.

You then have to write an application, submit it and once it is granted, comply with the regulations for renewal.

There are restrictions on phrases that a company can trademark. For example, a car manufacturing company cannot trademark the word car. They also cannot trademark words such as “the best car” as these are words regularly used in the public and would restrict a lot of people.

Unlike copyright, trademarks do not expire as long as they are still in use. Once a trademark has been registered, companies can use the symbol ™ next to their trademarked symbol, sign, or phrase.

Difference Between Copyright and Trademark

  1. Copyright protects original work whereas trademark protects items that identify a business brand.
  2. Copyright is generated automatically when work is originally created and published. Trademark, on the other hand, has to be registered.
  3. Copyright has an expiration time, whereas a trademark does not expire as long as it is still in use.
  4. Violation of copyright occurs when work is illegally downloaded or in the case of plagiarism. On the other hand, trademarks are violated when counterfeit goods are produced and sold using a registered trademark.
  5. Copyright prevents others from copying and selling copyrighted work without authorization. Trademark prevents others from using confusingly similar marks for their products.

Comparison Between Copyright and Trademark

Parameter of comparisonCopyrightTrademark
protectsOriginal workSigns symbols, and phrases that identify a brand
GenerationGenerated automaticallyGenerated after the registration process.
ExpirationHas an expiration timeDoes not have an n expiration date as long as it is still in use
PreventsOthers from copying and selling workOthers from using confusingly similar marks
ViolationWhen work is illegally accessed or distributedWhen counterfeit goods are produced and sold with the mark