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Trademark Vs Copyright: Know The Difference

By Mayashree Acharya


Updated on: Sep 29th, 2022


6 min read

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A trademark and copyright are types of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in India. They provide the owners with an exclusive right of use over their products or creations for a limited time. Trademarks are used for goods or services of a company, while copyright is used for original creative work like videography, photography, literary works, etc.

The scope of trademarks and copyrights is different. Thus, an individual or entity seeking to register an intellectual property must know the differences between a trademark and copyright and obtain the correct registration to protect their intellectual property.

What is Trademark?

A trademark is a word, logo or visual symbol used by businesses to differentiate their goods or services from other businesses offering similar goods or services. Trademarks are registered to protect brand names, slogans, business names, etc. For trademark registration, an applicant should file the trademark application with the Registrar of Trademarks. 

What is Trademark Symbol? Know About ™, Ⓡ, ⓒ Symbols

Trademarks intend to protect the public from getting confused with similar products in the market. A trademark ensures the brand’s authenticity and helps to retain its uniqueness in the market. The trademark law grants the trademark owners the right to prevent others from unauthorised usage of the trademarks for their products or services.

A copyright is a right granted to the creators of musical, literary, artistic, and dramatic works and the producers of sound recordings and cinematograph films. It is used to protect the creativity of individuals like artists, writers, designers, dramatists, designers, architects, musicians, and producers of cinematograph films, sound recordings and computer software.

Copyright intends to protect the original work of individuals, and nobody can reproduce, copy or use the creators’ content without their permission. The registered owner of a copyright has the rights to publishing, printing, copying or marketing his/her intellectual work. It protects music, books, movies, photographs, paintings, songs, novels, dances, etc., from reproduction or copying.

Difference Between Trademark and Copyright

Following are the differences between a trademark and a copyright:

Governing actTrade Marks Act, 1999Copyright Act, 1957
Registering authorityThe Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks are responsible for the examination of trademark registration applications.The Copyright Office is responsible for the examination of copyright registration applications.
ApplicantAn individual or a business can be an applicant and obtain trademark registration for their logos or symbols to be applied for goods and services.An author of a work, i.e. a book author, music composer, artist, photographer, producer or software developer, can apply for copyright registration to protect their original and unique work.
ProtectionA trademark protects a brand, name, logo, shape or slogan used to sell products and services. A copyright protects original creative expressions such as artistic, literary, and dramatic works.
CoverageA mark is used to identify the brand of a product, good or service.A copyright is used for the original creation in literary, dramatic and artistic works.
PurposeThe purpose of using trademarks is to ensure the exclusivity or distinctiveness of the product or service.The purpose of using copyrights is to ensure the creator’s interest is protected and to give an exclusive right to utilise or distribute their creation.
RecognitionTrademarks help consumers and businesses to recognise the standard and quality of a product or service of a business.Copyrights help recognise the original nature or aspect of the work the author has created.
ValidityTrademark registrations are valid for ten years from the application date. Copyright registrations are valid for the lifetime of the author. After the death of the author, they are valid for 60 years from the year after the author’s death.
OwnershipThe trademark owner has entire ownership over the registered trademark. The trademark helps individuals and businesses protect and retain the exclusivity of the services or products they provide.The author of a copyrighted work gets the exclusive rights to utilise the copyrighted work for financial gains. 
Symbolic representationWhen a trademark registration is in progress, the term ™ is used. When registration is obtained, the  Ⓡ symbol is used.When a copyright registration is obtained, the © symbol is used.

A trademark is used by businesses and individuals for their products and services, while the authors of creative works obtain copyright. The trademark protects the uniqueness of the mark used for products or services. The copyright protects the creativity and originality of literary, dramatic and artistic works. 

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. It 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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About the Author

I am an advocate by profession and have a keen interest in writing. I write articles in various categories, from legal, business, personal finance, and investments to government schemes. I put words in a simplified manner and write easy-to-understand articles. Read more


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