Understanding the ABCs of Intellectual Property: The Difference Between Patent, Copyright and Trademark
Updated on : Feb. 17, 2023 - 3 p.m. 17 min read.
In today's fast-paced and highly competitive world, protecting intellectual property has become a crucial concern for individuals and businesses alike. The terms patent, copyright, and trademark are often used interchangeably, but they each serve a different purpose and offer distinct legal protections.
Understanding the ABCs of intellectual property is essential for anyone looking to safeguard their creative works, inventions, or brand identity. In this article, we will explore the differences between these three types of intellectual property and provide a comprehensive guide to help you determine which one is right for you. Whether you are an entrepreneur, artist, or inventor, knowing the ins and outs of patent, copyright, and trademark law can save you from potential legal disputes and help you maximize the value of your intellectual assets. So, let's dive in and learn the basics of intellectual property protection!
What is Patent?
A patent is a form of legal protection granted to inventors for their new and original inventions. The Indian Patent Act of 1970 governs the patent system in India and provides for the grant of patents for inventions that are new involve an inventive step and are capable of industrial application. Inventors can apply for a patent with the Indian Patent Office by filing a patent application which must include a detailed description of the invention including how it works and how it is made.
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.
What is Trademark?
A trademark is a symbol, word, phrase, design or combination of these that is used to identify and distinguish the goods or services of one business from those of another. It serves as a source identifier for consumers indicating the origin of the goods or services. Trademarks can be registered with the Indian Trademark Office in order to receive legal protection and exclusivity in their use. A trademark registration allows the owner to use the ® symbol and to take legal action against any infringement of the mark. Unregistered marks can be protected under common law through passing off action.
Difference between Patent, Copyright, and Trademark
A Patent is a legal right granted by a government to an inventor or assignee for a certain period of time usually 20 years in exchange for publicly disclosing the details of an invention. Patents are used to prevent others from making, using, selling, and importing an invention without the patent holder's permission.
Copyright is a legal right granted to creators of original works of authorship, such as literature, music, art, and films. Copyright gives the creator the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, perform, and display the work and to create derivative works. Copyright is used to protect creative works from unauthorized use and to prevent others from profiting from the work without the copyright holder's permission.
A trademark is a symbol, word, phrase, or design that is used to identify and distinguish a company's goods or services from those of others. A trademark is used to protect a company's brand and reputation, and to prevent others from using a similar mark to confuse or deceive consumers.
Under Indian law the registration process for trademark, copyright, and patent is different.
Patent registration in India is done under the Indian Patents Office. The process begins with filing a patent application which must include details such as the title of the invention the name of the inventor and a description of the invention. The application is then examined by the Patents Office to ensure that it meets the requirements for patentability such as novelty non-obviousness and usefulness. If the application is accepted it is published in the Patents Journal. After the publication any person may raise an opposition to the registration within a period of six months. Upon completion of the opposition proceedings if the application is found to be acceptable it will be granted.
Copyright registration in India is not mandatory but it is advisable to register the work for better evidence in case of infringement. The process of registration of copyright involves filing an application for registration of copyright which must include details such as the title of the work the name of the author and a description of the work. The application is then examined by the Copyright Office and if the application is found to be in order a certificate of registration is issued.
Trademark registration in India is done under the Indian Trade Marks Office. The process begins with filing an application for registration which must include details such as the applicant's name and address the class of goods or services the trademark will be used for and a representation of the trademark. The application is then examined by the Trade Marks Office to ensure that it meets the requirements for registration such as distinctiveness and non-similarity to existing marks. If the application is accepted, it is published in the Trade Marks Journal. After the publication any person may raise opposition to the registration within a period of four months. Upon completion of the opposition proceedings if the application is found to be acceptable it will be registered.
The validity of a Patent, Copyright, and Trademark in India is determined by different factors and can be affected by different circumstances.
A Patent in India is granted for a period of 20 years from the date of filing. The patent holder must pay maintenance fees to keep the patent in force. A patent can be challenged by others before the Patent office or in a court of law. If a patent is found to be invalid it can be cancelled.
Copyright in India is granted for the life of the author plus 60 years. Copyright of anonymous and pseudonymous works is protected for 60 years from the date of publication. Copyright can be challenged by others before the Copyright office or in a court of law. If the copyright is found to be invalid it can be cancelled.
A Trademark in India is granted for a period of 10 years but it can be renewed indefinitely as long as the holder continues to use the mark and pays the necessary fees. Trademark can be challenged by others before the trademark office or in a court of law. If a trademark is found to be invalid it can be cancelled.
In summary, understanding the differences between patent, copyright, and trademark law is essential for anyone looking to protect their intellectual property. Whether you are an inventor, artist, or entrepreneur, knowing the appropriate type of protection for your creations can help you maximize the value of your intellectual assets and avoid costly legal disputes. By taking practical steps to safeguard your intellectual property and enforcing your rights when necessary, you can ensure that your creative works, inventions, and brand identity are protected for years to come.