Difference Between Copyright and Trademark

Intellectual Property, implies the human mind creations, such as artistic works, inventions, images, designs, literary, etc. It is grouped into two classes, i.e. industrial property, which covers trademark, patent, industrial design, etc. and Copyright, that comprises of artistic and literary work.

Copyright, as its name suggests, is a right conferred by law that protects the original piece of work from being copied, such as novels, plays, films, photographs, paintings and so on. On the other hand, a trademark manifests exclusive rights of the mark owner to use it and authorize another party to use the same for adequate consideration. It is used as the brand identity and separates it from other products in the market.

There are substantial differences between copyright and trademark which are discussed in this article in detail, take a read.

Content: Copyright Vs Trademark

  1. Comparison Chart
  2. Definition
  3. Key Differences
  4. Conclusion

Comparison Chart

Basis for Comparison Copyright Trademark
Meaning The rights of the creator of his intellectual property, that prevents others from publishing or copying the original piece of work is known as Copyright. Trademark is anything that recognizes the brand uniqueness and separates a product or service from those of the competitors.
Governing Act Indian Copyright Act, 1957 Trademarks Act, 1999
Subject matter Artistic and literary creations Goods and Services
Covers Any original creation Any mark, used to identify the brand behind the product.
Used to Prevents others from copying or using the original creation. Protect public from confusion.
Area covered Act applicable all around the world. Limited area.
Issued for Long term Comparatively short term

Definition of Copyright

Exclusive legal rights provided by law to the originator of the artistic and literary work to use, copy and market it, is known as Copyright. It is made to ensure the protection of original pieces of work. The rights are assigned to the author for a fixed term; that covers the life of the creator plus 60 years. It is considered as an intangible asset.

In short, Copyright means nobody can copy, reproduce or use the content of the creator without compensating him or his legal heirs (in the case of the demise of the creator). The rightful owner has the full fledged rights of printing, publishing, copying, or marketing his intellectual work. It protects books, music, movies, paintings, photographs, songs, dances, novels, etc. fixed to the form of expression.

Definition of Trademark

Any mark, symbol, logo, design, brand, slogan, catch phrase, company name and combination of all, which is used to recognise or recall the company name behind the product or service. It includes anything used by the producer to distinguish his product from other competitive products in the market. It is intended to protect public from getting confused among similar other products in the market.

In short, a trademark is anything that helps to identify the uniqueness of the brand and ensures its authenticity. The law grants the rights to the owner (individual, business enterprise, etc.) to prevent others from any unauthorised use. There are two types of trademark i.e. registered and unregistered.

A trademark must be unique and needs to be located on the product sold. For getting protection rights, you need to register the trademark. In general, it is provided by the authority for a period of 10 years. However, the owner can renew it for an unlimited period by paying the stipulated amount. The law does not allow anyone to use a mark which is similar or too nearly resembles with a mark already registered with the authority in the name of the different owner.

Key Differences Between Copyright and Trademark

The major differences between copyright and trademark are presented below:

  1. Copyright is the rights of the creator or the rightful owner of his intellectual property, which prevents others from publishing or copying the original piece of work. Anything which recognises the brand identity and separates a product or service from those of the competitors is known as the Trademark.
  2. In India Copyright is governed by the Copyright Act, 1957 whereas a trademark is governed by Trademark Act, 1999.
  3. The subject matter of copyright is an artistic and literary creation while that of a trademark is goods and services.
  4. Copyright is issued for a lifetime to the rightful owner, plus an extra 60 years. Normally, a registered trademark is issued for a period of 10 years, but it can be renewed on the payment of prescribed fees.
  5. Copyright covers any original creation. Conversely, trademark covers anything which is used to recognise the brand name behind the product.
  6. Copyright prevents others from using the original creation. On the other hand, trademark protects public from confusion or prevents others from using a resembling mark.
  7. Copyright has an international coverage, but a trademark covers a limited area, normally where the goods are traded.


Copyright and Trademark are the intangible assets of a company which are used to protect intellectual property. They are registered with the name of the rightful owner who created the asset. The former is used to safeguard the all intellectual work and the rights of its creator while the latter is used to safeguard the distinctive mark of the company that helps the public to recall the name of the company which is selling the product. It prevents others from using a mark which can cause confusion in the customer’s mind regarding the product or service.

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