What Purpose Do Copyrights & Patents Serve?

By Russ Buchanan

Copyrights and patents protect the originators of creative works and inventions against the unauthorized use of those works. Though both copyrights and patents protect intellectual property, their specific functions and purposes differ.

Patents

According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, a patent gives an inventor "the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling" the patent holder's invention within the U.S. A patent does not grant the inventor the right to manufacture or distribute his invention, only to exclude others from doing so.

Copyrights

A copyright grants sole control of an intellectual work to the work's creator. Registered in the Office of the Library of Congress, copyrights give creators of works, such as books, original music and other creative properties, the exclusive right to publicly perform and distribute copies or recordings of the copyrighted work.

Goal of Copyrights and Patents

According to the Constitution of the United States, the goal of government in granting copyrights and patents is "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

About the Author

A Los Angeles native, Russ Buchanan has been writing and editing for such disparate publications as “Midnight Graffiti Magazine” and “Op/Ed News.” He has been writing professionally since 1990. He attended Pierce College and California State University, Northridge.

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