What is the Difference Between a Trademark and a Copyright?

Intellectual Property is one of the most important assets that any business or entrepreneur has, no matter the size of their operation. It is your original thoughts and branding that distinguish your business from everything else on the market. This is why it is essential to protect your Intellectual Property.

Many businesses are unsure about what they have to do to accomplish that. One of the questions we get asked most frequently is what sort of protection does my Intellectual Property need? People have heard of trademarks and copyrights, but they do not know the difference between them!

A trademark is a word, phrase, slogan, symbol, design, or combination of the above, that distinguishes the source of goods and services from one owner to another. Technically speaking, if you are selling services rather than products you would call them servicemarks, but “trademarks” is used interchangeably for both. This is a wordy way of stating that your trademark is your brand and everything that identifies it.

Now, let’s imagine you run a company that offers business coaching services. Your company is small but successful. You call your coaching sessions “Lifechangers.” The phrase Lifechangers, since it distinguishes coaching sessions as being strictly yours and not belonging to any other companies, would be a trademark. Your logo on your website and social media would also be a trademark, as well as any slogan you use prominently on them.

A copyright protects original literary and artistic works. Films, songs, books, poetry, video games, software, and even architecture can be copyrighted. A copyright distinguishes that a person or corporation is the author of an artistic work and has the sole right to reproduce it and profit from it.

Let’s say that you decide to write a book espousing your unique approach to business coaching. Even though the book may feature your trademarked logo and slogan on it, the book itself will be protected by copyright. That means that only you can make copies of the book and sell them to those interested in buying it.

Trademarks are protected by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Once registered, they retain their rights by actual use. So as long as you are offering your Lifechangers sessions, you can have your trademark on the name renewed indefinitely. Copyrights, on the other hand, are registered at the United States Copyright Office. Copyrights are valid for a set number of years, regardless of use. The actual number varies by product, but it can be well over a hundred years from when the copyrighted work is first released.

At Hayoon Kane Law Firm, we specialize in both trademarks and copyrights! While we hope that this Blog allowed you to better tell the difference, when you come to us we can identify which is which and how to best protect them. Contact Hayoon Kane Law Firm today to get started protecting your valuable Intellectual Property. Add trademarks and copyrights and you can multiply your sales – with confidence!

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Hayoon Kane Law Firm

I am committed to helping business owners such as yourself understand the intricacies of the law, so you can concentrate on growing your company.

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