Difference Wiki

Copyright vs. Trademark: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sumera Saeed || Updated on October 19, 2023
Copyright protects original works of authorship; trademark protects brand identifiers like logos and names.

Key Differences

Copyright is a legal protection granted to the creators of original works of authorship, covering literary, musical, and certain other creative works. Trademark, on the other hand, is a protection provided to brand names, logos, slogans, and other symbols that distinguish goods or services in the marketplace.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 19, 2023
Copyright arises automatically upon the creation of an original work, without the need for formal registration, though registration can offer additional legal benefits. Trademark rights, conversely, are established through the actual use of a particular mark in commerce, and stronger rights can be secured through registration.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 19, 2023
Duration of protection differs markedly between the two. Copyright protections generally last for the lifetime of the author plus 70 years, after which the work enters the public domain. Trademarks, however, can last indefinitely, as long as they are in use and their registrations are maintained.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 19, 2023
Infringement issues also vary. Copyright infringement pertains to unauthorized copying or use of copyrighted material. Trademark infringement, meanwhile, relates to the unauthorized use of a trademark in a manner that is likely to cause confusion among consumers about the source of goods or services.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 19, 2023
While both copyright and trademark serve to protect intellectual property, their primary focus diverges. Copyright safeguards creative expressions, ensuring creators can benefit from their work, while trademark defends brand identity, preventing consumer confusion in the market.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 19, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Protection Type

Original works of authorship
Brand identifiers (e.g., logos, names)
Sumera Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Arises

Automatically upon creation
Through use in commerce and/or registration
Sumera Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Duration

Author's life + 70 years
Indefinite, with continued use and maintenance
Sumera Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Infringement

Unauthorized copying/use of copyrighted material
Use causing likely consumer confusion
Harlon Moss
Oct 19, 2023

Primary Focus

Creative expressions
Brand identity and source of goods/services
Harlon Moss
Oct 19, 2023
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Copyright and Trademark Definitions

Copyright

Copyright is the exclusive legal right to reproduce a work.
She holds the copyright for her latest novel.
Huma Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Trademark

Trademark identifies and distinguishes goods/services in commerce.
The company's trademark logo is recognized worldwide.
Huma Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Copyright

Copyright can pertain to various creative expressions, from music to literature.
The artist retained copyright over her unique sculpture.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 19, 2023

Trademark

Trademarks can be symbols, names, or slogans.
Their catchy slogan became a registered trademark.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Copyright

Copyright registration can provide stronger legal protection.
After finishing his movie, he filed for copyright.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Trademark

Trademarks help prevent market confusion.
Without a trademark, others could imitate their brand.
Sara Rehman
Oct 19, 2023

Copyright

Copyright safeguards creators from unauthorized use of their work.
Without permission, using his song breaches copyright.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Trademark

Trademark registrations can be renewed indefinitely.
They've maintained their trademark for over a century.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 19, 2023

Copyright

Copyright duration is tied to the life of the creator.
His writings will remain under copyright for decades.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Trademark

Trademark infringement can lead to legal repercussions.
Selling products under a copied trademark is unlawful.
Janet White
Oct 19, 2023

Copyright

The legal right granted to an author, composer, playwright, publisher, or distributor to exclusive publication, production, sale, or distribution of a literary, musical, dramatic, or artistic work.
Sumera Saeed
Jul 15, 2019

Trademark

Abbr. TM A name, symbol, or other device used to identify and promote a product or service, especially an officially registered name or symbol that is thereby protected against use by others.
Sumera Saeed
Jul 15, 2019

Copyright

Of or relating to a copyright
Copyright law.
A copyright agreement.
Sumera Saeed
Jul 15, 2019

FAQs

Do I need to register to have copyright protection?

No, copyright arises automatically upon creation, but registration offers added benefits.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

What's the symbol for copyright and trademark?

Copyright uses "©" and trademark uses "™" for unregistered and "®" for registered marks.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

How long does copyright last?

Generally, the lifetime of the author plus 70 years.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 19, 2023

How can I get a trademark for my brand name?

Use the mark in commerce and consider registering it for stronger rights.
Huma Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Can someone else use my trademarked name in a different industry?

Possibly, if there's no likelihood of consumer confusion between the industries.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 19, 2023

Does copyright protect facts?

No, copyright doesn't cover facts, but it can protect the expression or arrangement of them.
Sara Rehman
Oct 19, 2023

Are copyrights and trademarks recognized internationally?

While both have international agreements, protections often need to be sought separately in each country.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Can copyright protect my company logo?

While copyright can protect artistic aspects, trademark better protects logos as brand identifiers.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Can a trademark last forever?

Yes, if it's continuously used and registrations are maintained.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 19, 2023

Can ideas be copyrighted?

No, copyright protects the expression of ideas, not the ideas themselves.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Can I trademark a common word?

If it's distinctive in its market context, it may be trademarked.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Can a work lose its copyright protection?

Yes, once the duration ends, it enters the public domain.
Janet White
Oct 19, 2023

What happens if someone violates my copyright?

You can seek legal remedies, including damages and injunctions.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

How does trademark benefit consumers?

It helps avoid confusion by distinguishing the source of goods/services.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

How do I indicate my product's name is trademarked?

Use the "™" symbol for unregistered and "®" for registered marks.
Harlon Moss
Oct 19, 2023

What if someone uses my trademark in a parody?

Trademark law has exceptions for fair use, which may include parodies.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 19, 2023

Can I copyright a single word?

Typically, no. Single words are hard to copyright but might be trademarked in specific contexts.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 19, 2023

Do I always need a lawyer for trademark issues?

While not mandatory, legal expertise can help navigate complex trademark issues.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Can I sell my copyright?

Yes, copyright can be transferred or licensed to others.
Sara Rehman
Oct 19, 2023

Is a patent the same as a trademark?

No, patents protect inventions, while trademarks protect brand identifiers.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 19, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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