Copyright vs Trademark: What Sets Them Apart? - Growth Freaks

Copyright vs Trademark: What Sets Them Apart?

Copyright dictionary definition

Copyright vs trademark. These are two terms that are often used in the business world. Just as often, people don’t know exactly what do they mean and what do they cover. Today we are going to find out what does each of them refer to and how you can use them.

Copyright vs Trademark


First, let’s start with some brief definitions of the two concepts:

A trademark is designed to protect terms, names, and symbols people use to pinpoint the source of goods/services. Simply put, with a trademark you can distinguish between various companies on the market.

Meanwhile, a copyright is a tool used to protect creative works that are original. If you own a copyright for a work, you have complete control over its distribution, reproduction or public presentation. If someone infringes your copyright, you can sue them in federal court. Moreover, it is used to prevent other people from infringing goods.

What Do They Cover?

A trademark covers the following:

  • Product, brand or company names;
  • Logos and other marks;
  • Taglines and catch phrases.

The copyright usually protects:

  • Paintings, photos, visual works;
  • Books, web content, articles, writings;
  • Recordings of dances, choreography or other performances;
  • Songs, TV shows, ads, and movies.

Copyright vs Trademark – Differences

  1. One of the main differences between the two concepts is the fact that the trademark only helps you identify the company or the product. If you own a trademark, that doesn’t prevent other people from copying it. Whereas, the copyright can help you sue them for unlawful use of your intellectual property.
  2. Copyright offers you exclusive rights. You are the complete owner of the copyrighted object and you decide what happens with it. Meanwhile, the trademark only acknowledges the logo/name/ tagline as belonging to you. The right to sue somebody for copying your image is extremely important. Just think about huge companies such as Coca-Cola or Nike. Their taglines have become famous already.
  3. Copyright is automatic, trademark isn’t. What does this mean? In the copyright vs trademark battle, you, as an owner, get the rights from copyright from the start. Meanwhile, the trademark rights begin only when you file the request with the national authority.
  4. The copyright law needs a compulsory license and it can bring you royalty payments. Meanwhile, trademarks don’t rely on such concepts.
  5. The duration of the protection varies as well. While the copyright law lasts for the entire life of the author, plus 70 years after that, the trademark can last as long as it remains distinctive and registered.

Why Does It Matter?

Trademarks have become a great business asset. Having control of a certain mark is essential for creating your own brand image. Thus, you can monitor the psychological response of the consumers when they notice the mark.

Here you have a useful clip that briefly explains all of the above:


Even though both concepts seem to refer to the same things, the truth is that they cover different areas. The trademark usually refers to the product or the company as such, while the copyright is focused more on the rights to distribute and reproduce. Either way, they are important if you want to set up your own company brand and identity.

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Author: Amanda Knowles