Navigating the Legal Maze: what is the difference between copyright and trademark
Updated on : Feb. 16, 2023 - 4 p.m. 17 min read.
What trademark means?
A trademark is a form of intellectual property protection that is specific to India, which allows Indian businesses to identify and distinguish their products or services from those of other companies. It is a symbol, word, or phrase that represents a company's brand and is used to protect a business's reputation and prevent consumer confusion.
Registering a trademark in India provides legal protection against unauthorized use of the mark by others within the country. The process of trademark registration in India involves a thorough search of existing trademarks to ensure that the proposed mark is not already in use, followed by a formal application to the Indian Trademark office. Once granted, trademark registration in India can last for an initial period of 10 years and can be renewed indefinitely as long as the mark is in use and the renewal fees are paid periodically. In this way, trademark registration enables Indian businesses to legally establish ownership of their brand and secure their commercial identity in the Indian market.
What is Copyright?
Copyright is a form of intellectual property protection that is specific to India, which protects original works of authorship such as literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, including poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. In India, copyright is automatically granted to the creator of an original work as soon as it is fixed in a tangible form. This means that as soon as you create an original work, you are automatically its copyright holder.
However, in order to enforce your rights as a copyright holder, it is recommended to register your copyright with the Indian Copyright office. The registration process involves submitting a copy of the work along with the necessary documentation. Once granted, the copyright protection in India lasts for the lifetime of the author plus 60 years after his death. Copyright registration in India gives the owner exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute, and display the work publicly. It enables the copyright holder to prevent others from using the work without permission and to seek legal remedies in case of infringement.
Difference between Trademark and Copyright with example
A trademark is used to protect a company's brand and its products or services from being copied or used by others without permission. For example, the Nike swoosh logo is a trademark of Nike, Inc. While a popular book like "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" is protected by copyright, which means that no one can reproduce or distribute the book without the permission of the copyright owner, J.K. Rowling.
What does a copyright protect?
- Literary works, including books, articles, and blog posts
- Musical works and lyrics
- Dramatic works, including plays and scripts
- Choreographic works and pantomimes
- Pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works, including paintings, drawings, and photographs
- Motion pictures and audiovisual works
- Sound recordings
- Architectural works
- Computer software
- Compilations of data and other literary works, such as databases and anthologies.
What does a trademark protect?
- Product and service names
- Logos and symbols
- Brand and trade names
- Packaging and labeling
- Advertising and promotional materials
- Domain names and internet addresses
- Trade dress, or the overall appearance and packaging of a product or service
- Certification marks, which indicate that a product or service meets certain standards
- Collective marks, which are used by members of a particular group or organization
- Geographical indications, which identify a product as originating from a specific place and possessing certain qualities or characteristics
Difference between Trademark and Copyright:
Trademarks and Copyright are two different forms of intellectual property protection in India. Both serve different purposes and have different requirements for registration and protection.
The purpose of a trademark is to identify and distinguish the goods or services of one company from those of another.
While the purpose of copyright is to protect original works of authorship.
A trademark provides the exclusive right to use the mark in relation to the goods or services for which it is registered.
Copyright provides exclusive rights to the copyright holder, such as the right to reproduce, distribute, and display the copyrighted work publicly.
Duration of Validity
The initial period of trademark registration in India is 10 years, which can be renewed indefinitely as long as the mark is in use. On the other hand, the duration of validity for copyright varies depending on the type of work but generally lasts for the lifetime of the author plus 60 years.
Trademarks are used to identify and distinguish goods or services, while copyrights are used to protect original literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works.
A registered trademark establishes exclusive rights to use the mark and can protect the brand's reputation and consumer trust. Copyright provides creators control over the use and distribution of their works.
Registered trademarks are recognized by the Indian Trademark Office, while copyrighted works are recognized by the Indian Copyright Office.
Symbol of Identification
A trademark may be indicated by the symbol TM or the registered trademark symbol
Copyright is indicated by the symbol
Trademarks must be filed with the Indian Trademark Office for registration and protection. Copyright exists automatically upon the creation of the work, and registration is not mandatory in India. However, registration of copyright with the copyright office in India is advisable to have valid proof of ownership in case of any legal dispute.
In conclusion, both trademarks and copyrights are important forms of intellectual property protection in India. They serve different purposes and have different requirements for registration and protection. It is important for businesses and creators to understand the distinction between the two and protect their intellectual property accordingly.
How to protect your trademark?
There are several steps that can be taken to protect a trademark in India:
- Conduct a trademark search: It is important to conduct a thorough search of existing trademarks to ensure that the proposed mark is not already in use by another company.
- File for trademark registration: Once the proposed mark is cleared from the search, a formal application for trademark registration should be filed with the Indian Trademark Office.
- Use the trademark: Once the trademark is registered, it is important to use it correctly. Use it to identify and distinguish your products or services from those of other companies.
- Monitor your trademark: It is important to monitor the use of your trademark by others and take action if someone else begins using a mark that is similar to yours.
- Renew the trademark: A trademark registration in India can last for an initial period of 10 years, and it can be renewed indefinitely as long as the mark is in use and the renewal fees are paid periodically.
- Take legal action: If someone else uses your trademark without your permission, you may take legal action to stop them and seek compensation for any damages suffered.
- Register under Trademark Class: It is important to register your trademark under the relevant class of goods or services as per the Nice classification.
By taking these steps, you can protect your trademark and secure your commercial identity in the Indian market.
How to protect your Copyright?
To protect your copyright follow these steps
- Use the copyright symbol
- Register your work with the Copyright Office
- Keep copies in multiple locations
- Use a digital timestamp
- Be aware of copyright laws
- Monitor for infringement
- Use a watermark
- Consider licensing and have a written agreement
- Use copyright monitoring service