Copyright vs. Trademark

By Elizabeth Boyd
your business, your creative works, your intellectual property rights
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Understanding the differences between copyrights and trademarks is key in protecting the brand identity of your business and the rights to your creative works. In most cases, these intellectual property rights are exclusive of one another and offer different types of protection. But in some rare instances, you can use both methods at once, such as for a unique and detailed logo.

Copyright Creative Works

A copyright protects original works of authorship by showing ownership of your creation during your lifetime, plus 70 years after you die. Books, plays, paintings and songs are some common examples of copyrighted works, but copyright actually protects a very wide range of authored works, such as blogs, articles, poems, films, photographs, musical compositions and drawings.

Trademarks and Branding

A trademark is related to your product, brand or business identity. It identifies the source of your goods and services for consumers. This is typically accomplished by identifying your company as the provider of specific products or services through association with memorable and recognizable logos, slogans and brand names.

Register Intellectual Property for Additional Protection

Registration is not required for trademarks or copyrights. However, trademark registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and copyright registration with the United States Copyright Office do offer more extensive protections. Registration allows you to pursue legal monetary damages for copyright infringement and establishes the validity of your trademark in court for trademark infringement claims.

About the Author

Elizabeth Boyd began writing in 2008 for a legal newsletter. She has worked in the legal field as a transcriber, paralegal, legal writer and content writer for several years. She holds an Associate of Applied Science in paralegal studies from Pikes Peak Community College.