Are Copyrights, Trademarks, and Patents the Same or Different?

Blog    July 17, 2019
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Intellectual Property Rights

People often confuse whether Copyrights, Trademarks, and Patents have any difference or not. Though appear a bit similar yet these three most common forms of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) are quite different as each safeguards different assets. Getting familiar with copyrights, trademarks, and patents is essential for keeping your assets away from infringement issues.

What is Copyright?

Copyright refers to the rights that protect the original creative works of the owner. The set of rights include the right to:

  • Reproduce the work,
  • Create derivative works,
  • Distribute and promote copies,
  • Showcase and execute the work publicly.

As an owner of the original work, you possess the power to determine under what conditions your work may be copied and used by other people. Registering your products with the government is essential to ensure the protection of your Intellectual Property (IP). Otherwise, you will not be able to sue another party for Copyright Infringement.

What is a Trademark?

A trademark could be a word, symbol, or phrase that identifies and differentiates the source of the products or services from those of others. Trademarks build goodwill that helps the customers to purchase their desired products.

Examples of some common trademarks include:

  • Words like Nike
  • Logos like the swoosh
  • Slogans like Just Do It

The Trademark Registration prevents others from infringing your trademark as it empowers you to grant permission to others for using your registered trademark.

Whatis a Patent?

A patent is an IP right that protects unauthorized users from using the owner’s inventions.

Patent Law includes:

  • New and vital industrial processes,
  • Machines,
  • Manufactured products,
  • Chemical compositions,
  • Improvements in assets.

While the patent is in effect, the owner holds all the rights to prevent others from using or selling his invention. The owner can sue others for violating his patent rights.

How Copyrights, Trademarks, and Patents Differ?

i) Assets Protected
  1. Copyrights protect the owner’s original work, such as books, blogs, images, etc.
  2. Trademarks protect any word, symbol, or phrase that distinguishes the products of one company from those of others.
  3. Patents protect inventions, like processes, machines, manufactures, compositions, and improvements.
ii) Requirements
  1. For copyright rights, your work should be original and creative.
  2. To get a trademark registered, you have to ensure that your mark is capable of identifying the source of a specific product.
  3. In the case of a Patent Application, make sure your invention is new, valuable, and non-obvious.
iii) Terms of Protection

Terms of Protection for IP rights are country-specific. For instance, in India:

  1. Copyright protection continues for the owner’s entire life and sixty additional years.
  2. Trademark protection is valid for 10 years from the date of application, renewable every 10 years.
  3. Patent protection is valid for 20 years from the date of filing its application.
iv) Rights Granted
  1. Copyrights grant the right to use, distribute, and represent the copyrighted material.
  2. Trademarks provide the right to prevent businesses from using similar marks, and thus, avoid confusion regarding the origin of the services or products.
  3. Patents Protection prevents others from selling, importing, or using the patented invention.


Due to high pace advancements in technology, on one hand, the businesses are developing, but on the other hand, crimes like fraud and infringement are also increasing. Hence, it is vital to protect intellectual property just like you would safeguard other assets. To do so, you need to understand all forms of IP, including copyrights, patents, and trademarks along with their differences. So be familiar with intellectual property rights and stay active for using them to be safe from all issues and worries. For more visit: 

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