Trademark Copyright, or Patent

Trademark Copyright, or Patent

What is the Difference: Trademark Copyright, or Patent?

Although there may be some similarities among these kinds of intellectual property protection, they
are different and serve different purposes. Sometimes, there are situations when both copyright and trademark law can be used to protect different elements of the same item.



A trademark is a word, name, symbol, or device that is used in trade with goods to indicate the source
of the goods and to distinguish them from the goods of others. A service mark is the same as a trademark except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product.

Trademarks protect the public’s interest in being able to accurately ascertain the source of goods or services in the marketplace and protect a business’ good will in their reputation, image and expectation of repeat customers.

Trademark registration provides the owner of a federally registered mark with protection against the use of similar marks if any consumer confusion would result.



A copyright is a form of protection provided for “original works of authorship.”

Copyrights encourage creativity by giving exclusive property rights to “works of authorship,” enabling the creator to reap financial rewards from their works by controlling access to the works in the marketplace.

Copyright law provides the owner with the exclusive right to reproduce the work, to prepare derivative works, to distribute copies, to perform or display the work publicly.



A patent protects inventions or discoveries and provides the grant of a property right to the inventor.

A patent may be obtained for any “new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof.”

This generally includes practically everything that is man-made and the processes for making them. The legal rights granted to the patent owner includes “the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling” the invention.


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