Questions Legal

What is the difference between copyright and trademark?


Prabha Yadev

Life is but a walking shadow

Well, both copyright and trademark are the types of intellectual property. Intellectual property is nothing but the creation of an idea, the invention of design or process, or a work like literature, song, etc. Intellectual property laws have been laid down in many countries to protect one’s property.  Copyright and trademark are the part of such a law. Both are in one or the other way, same as they protect a person’s original work but are different from each other as well because they are given on different categories.

A copyright gives the owner to refrain others from copying or using his original product or work for the benefit of the latter. Whereas, a trademark is simply a symbol or a name which separates the product of one company from that of the other.

How do both differ from each other?

Both copyrights and trademarks are a useful way to protect one’s intellectual property, but they both differ in the sense that they have different criteria to be applied for.

  1. Nature of asset: Copyright is generally given on literary or artistic type of works. The works covered under this may be a song, an originally written book or an original video. It prevents or legally stops others from copying a piece of original works. Whereas, a trademark is generally given on a logo of the company to signify its uniqueness in the market.

  2. Acts: Copyright is protected under The Indian Copyrights Act, 1957. On the other hand, a trademark is governed by the act named as The Trademarks Act, 1999. This infers that though they are intellectual property and will be covered under the intellectual property, cases relating to them will be covered under their respective acts.

  3. Time period: A copyright is generally issued for longer time duration as compared to a trademark. Copyright is usually for a lifetime, i.e., a term period of many years. But in the case of trademark, the time period is relatively shorter. It is generally for a time period of fourteen years and after that, it has to be renewed with a charge.

  4. Applicability: A copyright is applicable all around the world. This states that if an original work is done in India, no other person from any country can copy a part or whole of this work without the consent of the copyright owner. Whereas, a trademark is not applicable everywhere.

In a nutshell, copyright is a right of the owner to protect his original works related to literature or artistic forms whereas; the trademark is a logo, brand name or any other symbol of a company which makes it unique from other companies.

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