Comparing Intellectual Property Protections – Copyright, Trademark, Utility Patent, and Design Patent

Updated on: Oct 12th, 2021 - 8:50:38 AM

5 min read

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Intellectual property refers to intangible creative productions of the mind. It ranges from literature and images to processes. When one says intellectual property rights, it means the legal right over the said intellectual property creation here the person has ownership of the creation. It must be noted that to have ownership over a creation one does not need to be the creator of the property themselves.

Types of Intellectual Properties

In India, there are four main types of intellectual properties, they are:

  1. Copyright: This type of intellectual property is with regards to written creations. Such as books, scripts, songs, web contents etc.
  2. Trademark: Trademarks protect creations that are generally signs, symbols, images and sounds that demarcate any products and services from others in the same field.
  3. Utility Patent: Utility patents are associated with commercial inventions and creations. They do not necessarily need to be a product but can also include a unique process.
  4. Design Patent: this protects designs made in the form of drawings or renders. These may be two dimensional or three dimensional.

Comparison of Intellectual Property Rights

 Copyright Trademark Utility PatentDesign Patent
Who is it for?Authors, composers, architects, artists etc.Owners of businesses (including Investors) and productsInventors Designers and investors
What does it protect?Protects written works, choreography sounds and song recordings, books, texts, articles, comments, photographs, movies, plays etc. Names, words, sounds, melodies, images, pictures, logos, symbols, slogans etc.Machines, processes, chemical compositions, formulae etc.Shape, pattern, configuration, composition or ornament of lines or colours that is applied to any article that is either two dimensional or three dimensional or both
Benefits of registrationIt prevents the unauthorised usage of materials that has been copyrighted. In the case that it is used without the authorisation from the holder of the copyright, the holder of the copyright has the right to bring a suit against the person or persons who took part in this usage. It gives public notice of ownership over the material that has been copyrighted. Registration of a trademark not only gives protection to the owner of the trademark within India, but also internationally. It gives legal ownership over the mark and gives the owner of the trademark the right to bring a suit against any person or persons or businesses etc. who use the mark without authorisations. To protect an invention from being used by others without your authorisation, one must patent their invention. It prevents others from using the invention in any manner without your permission. If used without your authorisation you have the legal right to claim damages.Similar to inventions, a design will have no protection under the law unless it is registered. Without the design being registered, it may be freely used by anybody without any repercussions under the law. 
Duration of protectionIn India a copyright is protected for the lifetime of the creator and then for a further period of 60 years from the date of the creator’s demise. A trademark that is registered will be protected for a period of ten years. This period may extend every ten years for a period of another ten years indefinitely. by paying a certain fee before the expiry of the original ten year period. It may be renewed only if the trademark is still in use. A utility patent in India is protected for a period of twenty years. A design patent is protected for a period of ten years. This may be extended by another five years by paying a certain fee and filing an application for the same.

Disclaimer: The materials provided herein are solely for information purposes. No attorney-client relationship is created when you access or use the site or the materials. The information presented on this site does not constitute legal or professional advice and should not be relied upon for such purposes or used as a substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your state.

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