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Copyright, patent, and trademark are all different types of Intellectual property rights (IP). Albeit, the three types of IP are very different, people often confuse them.

A brief description of copyright, patents, and trademarks, including a brief discussion of how these forms of IP differ from copyright, is provided below.

What’s Copyright?

A copyright is a collection of rights automatically vested to you once you have created an original work. To understand how these rights can be used or licensed, it is helpful to analogize them to a bundle of sticks, where each stick represents a separate right vested to you as the owner.  These rights include the right to reproduce the work, to prepare derivative works, to distribute copies, to perform the work publicly, and to display the work publicly.

As the copyright owner, you have the authority to keep each “stick,” to transfer them individually to one or more people, or to transfer them collectively to one or more people. This can be accomplished through licensing, assigning, and other forms of transfers. The power of copyright allows you to choose the way your work is made available to the public.

What’s Patent?

The primary goal of the patent law is to encourage innovation and commercialization of technological advances. Patent law incentivizes inventors to publicly disclose their inventions in exchange for certain exclusive rights. A patent protects inventions. These inventions can include new and useful processes, machines, manufactures, compositions of matter as well as improvements to these. Certain computer programs may fall  within the subject matter protected by both patents and copyrights.

In this respect the patent system compliments copyright protection by providing protection for functional aspects of the software, which is not protected by copyright. Unlike with copyright protection, to get patent protection one must first apply for and be granted a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Unlike the copyright registration process, the patent application process is expensive, complex, difficult, and time consuming and generally should not be attempted without the assistance of an experienced patent attorney or agent.

What’s Trademark and how is it different from patent and copyright?

According to the USPTO, “a trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of  one party from those of others. A service mark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than goods. Examples include brand names, slogans, and logos. (The term “trademark” is often used in a general sense to refer to both trademarks and service marks.)” Similar to copyright, a person does not need not register a trademark or service mark to receive protection rights, but there are certain legal benefits to registering the mark with the USPTO.

There is rarely an overlap between trademark and copyright law but it can happen — for instance, when a graphic illustration is used as a logo the design may be protected both under copyright and trademark.

The main difference between Copyright Patent & TradeMark

CATEGORIESCOPYRIGHTTRADEMARKPATENT
LawsThe Copyright Act, 1957Trade Marks Act, 1999The Patents Act, 1970
1.     What’s
Protected?
Original works of authorship, such as books, articles, songs, photographs, sculptures, choreography, sound recordings, motion pictures, and other worksAny word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of othersInventions, such as processes, machines, manufactures, compositions of matter as  well as improvements to these
Term of securityValid for lifetime of the author + 60 years after his/her death. Protection is available in most of the countries in the world.Validity for 10 years can be made perpetual by renewing the trademark every 10 years. Territorial in nature to claim rights should be applied to each country individually.Validity for 20 years starting from the day the application is first made. It is also a territorial right and therefore it is effective only within the territory of India. Separate patents required to be filed for each country where protection is required.
what is securedCopyright secures Creative or intellectual creations.Trademarks secure the branding under which products and services are sold.Patent secures inventions that are useful for the world and has some use. E.g. New invention in pharmaceutical industry.
Right comes into ExistenceExclusive rights over the copyright are created the moment the authorship creates the work.Once the trademark gets registered the applicant of the mark can claim complete right over the said mark. Registration usually takes 12-18 months.Patent registration takes about 2-3 years in all. But the owner can stop anyone else from claiming right over a particular patent the moment he applies for a provisional patent.
Provisional Application RequirementNo provisional application is required.Trademark registration does not include a provisional application, but it requires a trademark search.A provisional application gets you 12 months of time to file a complete specification and a priority date claim.
Symbolic RepresentationNo symbolic representation to show registration.Used when registration is in process: ™ Used when registration is complete: ®No symbolic representation to show registration.

So, A design patent protects any new, original and ornamental design for a useful article of manufacture whereas A copyright protects any original work of authorship that has been fixed in a tangible medium of expression and A trademark protects any words, names, symbols or devices used in commerce to identify and distinguish a particular source of goods or services from another source.

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