What is the Difference Between Trademark & Copyright?

It can often times be confusing to know if you should apply for a trademark or copyright. They both are commonly misunderstood and even though they are both forms of intellectual property, they are both very different from each other.

What is a trademark?

A trademark is a recognizable sign, design or expression that identifies products or services. An owner of a trademark can be an individual, business organization or legal entity. Trademarks usually apply to commercial names, phrases or logos and are used to protect the use of a company name or product. This can include items that represent brand identity and slogans. Beware that the registration process for a trademark is very thorough! It is always a good idea to speak with a trademark lawyer in Phoenix.

What is a copyright?

A copyright is a legal right that grants the creation of an original work and gives the exclusive right for its use and distribution. This is applicable to certain forms of creative work and is a little clearer cut than a trademark. Copyrights help protect the rights of the people who created dramatic, musical, literary and artistic works. The duration of a copyright lasts the life of the author or creator of the material plus an additional 70 years.

Trademark vs. Copyright

These intellectual properties are managed by two completely different offices with the federal government. Trademarks are handled strictly through the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Copyrights are handled through the U.S. Copyright Office. Short words and phrases can be tricky. Not only can they pertain to trademarks, but are also copyrightable if they can be proven to be creative and original. Most of the time you should be able to know which is best for you one meeting with a KEYWORD.