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Intellectual Property: Trademark Vs Copyright

Copyright and trademark are two types of intellectual property rights that provide the creator control over the use of their product for a set amount of time. Entrepreneurs who want to register intellectual property must first understand the differences between the two before obtaining the appropriate registrations to safeguard it.

A copyright is a right given to the creators of literary, musical, dramatic, artistic works, and the producers of cinematograph films and sound recordings.

A copyright doesn’t protect names or brands, slogans, short word combinations, short phrases, plots, methods, or factual information. Hence, copyright is mostly used to protect the creativity of people like writers, artists, dramatists, designers, musicians, architects, and the producers of sound recordings, cinematograph films, and computer software.

What Is a Trademark in Intellectual Property?

A trademark is a word or a visual symbol used by a business to differentiate its goods or services from those of other businesses that offer similar goods or services. To register a trademark, the applicant must file a trademark application in the prescribed format with the relevant trade mark Registrar. Trademarks are generally used to protect brand names, business names, slogans, and much more.

Difference Between Trademark and Copyright

Both copyright and trademark have different and distinct uses. Their validity and the requirement for registration also vary as follows:


  • Copyright Protection is commonly used to protect literary, musical, dramatic, and aesthetic works, including cinematograph films and sound recordings
  • Under the Copyright Act, software, programmes, tables, and databases can all be registered as a “literary work”
  • A copyright is a legal right in the eyes of the law which gives an exclusive right to an individual who originally creates the work
  • Any individual with copyright must use it in a judicious way as per the provisions of the copyright law
  • People who are creative or who write original works are granted copyrights. Writers, poets, and artists use copyright to safeguard their original work
  • However, in order to get the copyright for software, the source code must be given to the copyright office along with the application.


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  • Individuals, businesses, and non-profit organisations commonly utilise trademarks to protect brand names, business names, slogans, and other identifiers
  • A concept or an idea or software cannot be trademarked. But, a unique name given to a concept or software or product can be trademarked
  • A lot of businesses use their trademark on the packaging of their products or on the product itself
  • This protects them from other people using their goods, trademark, or logo
  • The person who owns the trademark can take legal action against any person for using their trademark.

Copyright Vs Trademark

The below given table gives difference between trademark and copyright.

Category Copyright Trademark
Governed under Copyright Act, 1957 Trade Marks Act, 1999
Registrar The review and acceptance of a copyright application are controlled by the Copyright Office, Department of Higher Education, and Ministry of Human Resource Development. The review and the acceptance of a trademark application are controlled by the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
Types of protection & works Original creative expressions such as literary works, artistic works, dramatic works, and so on are protected. Protection of a special name that distinguishes a brand from others. Names, slogans, logos, shapes, and colours are all possibilities.
Validity and reach It lasts for 60 years, according to the general rule. In the case of original literary, dramatic, artistic, and musical works, the 60-year period begins the year after the author’s death. Protection is provided in almost every country in the world. Trademark registrations are valid for a period of 10 years from the date of application. This validity can be extended at the end of 10 years by filing a trademark renewal application.
Secures It protects intellectual or creative works. Trademarks protect the branding used to sell goods and services.
Right comes into existence When the authorship develops the work, they acquire exclusive rights to the copyright. Once a trademark is registered, the applicant of the mark has entire ownership of the mark. Registration normally takes between 12 and 18 months.
Symbolic representation There is no symbolic representation of registration.

When a registration is in progress, the term ™ is used.

When registration is complete, the following symbol is used: ®.


Vakilsearch’s IP experts will provide legal advice and end-to-end assistance, from filing the application to obtaining the required information to registering your work. There is no need to go outside and follow up with government personnel because the entire process is performed online. We will also handle all of the relevant paperwork.

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