From the Hollywood sign to celebrity applications of logos, copyright and trademark law continue to proliferate. When considering when and if a product or idea needs protection – the debate continues. UpCounsel, based in Los Angeles, provides experienced legal counsel, to help guide businesses with copyright and trademark in the United States.

If you are a business operating in the United States, you need to understand the differences between copyright and trademark law, and how you can protect yourself. The legal nuances that distinguish copyrights, trademarks, and patents are instrumental in helping business owners make the right decisions when launching a new product to consumers. Without the proper legal advice, it can be easy to make mistakes that could be extremely costly in the future. The legal process surrounding trademarks, copyrights, and patents can be quite complex. This article is designed to provide an introduction to help business owners grapp and the differences between trademarks, copyrights, and patents and how they differ from one another.

What Is Copyright?

Copyright is a form of protection that is available to the author or creator of a piece of work. It covers the author's original expression and prevents anyone but saying it from publishing, displaying, or distributing the work. It is available to all forms of expression, including literature, music, award-winning films and television shows, and software. Copyright protects the original ideas, words, or expressions that are set forth in the work. It does not protect ideas and facts themselves, but rather the person's expression of those ideas.

What Is Trademark?

Unlike copyright, which is available for all kinds of creative work, trademarks are specifically limited to protecting distinct brand names, logos, and symbols. It provides exclusive rights to the holder of the trademark to use that brand in relation to a particular product or service. Unlike copyright, it provides ongoing protection and does not expire unless the trademark is abandoned. The trademark holder is also able to sue for damages should anyone infringe upon the trademark.

What Is the Difference between Trademark and Copyright?

The most significant differences between copyright and trademark law concern the scope of protection. Copyright law is only designed to protect the expression of ideas in a work, while trademarks are designed to protect the distinct brand names and symbols associated with products and services. In other words, copyright law protects the content of a work, while trademark law protects the brand of the work.

Wrapping up

When launching new products or services, businesses must understand the intricacies of copyright, trademark, and patent law in order to successfully navigate the legal process. UpCounsel, based in Los Angeles, provides experienced legal counsel to help business owners make informed decisions when launching products. With a team of experienced business lawyers, UpCounsel can help any business in the United States better understand the differences between copyright and trademark law.