Difference Between Trademark, Copyright and Patent

All three provide a legal protection against copycats trying to make a buck off your idea, however, each designation applies to a specific type of intellectual property. Hence it’s important to know the differences.

1. Trademark: A trademark is a symbol, word, or phrase used to identify and distinguish goods and services from those of others. Trademarks are used to protect brands and are registered with the government. The purpose of a trademark is to protect the reputation of the brand. The trademark cannot be registered if it is found offensive, non-distinct and contains government emblems. 

The validity period of trademark in India is for a period of 10 years. The renewal can be filed within one year prior to the date of expiry.

2. Copyright: A copyright is a legal right that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights to control its use and distribution. Copyrights protect literary, artistic, and musical works, as well as software, movies, and other forms of expression. Copyrights are automatic upon creation of the work and do not require registration, but registration is recommended to provide additional protection and benefits. Copyrights generally last for the lifetime of the creator plus a certain number of years after their death.

3. Patent: A patent is a form of intellectual property protection that grants the owner the exclusive right to use, manufacture, and sell an invention for a limited period of time, usually 20 years from the date of application. Patents are granted by the government in exchange for a complete disclosure of the invention. The purpose of a patent is to encourage innovation by allowing inventors to profit from their ideas and to prevent others from copying their invention.

In short, trademark protects brands and their identifiers, copyright protects creative works, and patent protects inventions. Each provides different rights and protections to their respective owners.

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