Difference between a Copyright, a Patent, and a Trademark – an Overview
Intellectual property rights give owners certain protections over their creations. Despite being
under the same umbrella term, different types of intellectual property have different types of
This article provides a brief overview of what it means to have copyright, patent, or trademark
Copyright law protects original works of art, such as books, songs, art, photographs, and videos.
In the United States, an author or creator automatically has copyright ownership of a work when
Registering your work with the U.S. Library of Congress gives you certain benefits, including:
- The right to reproduce the work, such as by selling copies of a book or movie;
- The right to display or perform the work publicly;
- The right to license the work to others; and
- The right to file a lawsuit claiming copyright infringement.
Copyright protection for works created in 2022 are valid for the life of the author and 70 years,
with no renewal requirements.
There are two types of patents: utility patents and design patents. Utility patents protect
inventions, while design patents protect non-functional decorative elements of an invention.
Patents can protect physical items, like the latest smartphone, and mechanical processes, as well
as chemical compounds found in pharmaceuticals, and even software code.
Unlike copyrights, patents give the patent holder the right to prohibit others from making, selling, or otherwise distributing the invention. Patent law does not give the patent holder any rights to make, sell, or distribute their invention.
If you’re an inventor, it’s important to file for patent protection early, because the United States
is a first-to-file jurisdiction. This means that, regardless of who invented the item first, the first
person or company to file their papers with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will
receive protection over the invention.
Utility patents are valid for 20 years, while design patents are valid for 14 years.
Finally, trademarks protect branding, whether it’s a slogan, logo, or even the name of a business.
Trademarks help the public identify the origin and quality or a particular product or service.
A trademark owner has the right to prohibit others from using a similar mark within a particular
industry. For example, a computer repair company could register their trademark for the service
they provide as well as their advertising materials, but would not be able to use the mark, and
could not prohibit others from using a similar mark, if utilized by a guitar manufacturer. To learn
more please contact a trademark attorney in Los Angeles.
Trademark rights can last for hundreds of years, as long as the mark is still being used and the
owner of the mark files for renewal.
Different aspects of intellectual property law allows different types of protection for owners. As
an IP owner, it’s important to understand what type of intellectual property protection your
creation can receive and what rights you have over the work.
Have Questions? Consult with an Experienced Patent Attorney in Los Angeles Today
Omni Legal Group is a premier Patent, Trademark, and Copyright law firm located in Los
Angeles. For further information or to schedule a consultation please contact Omni Legal Group
at 855.433.2226 or visit www.OmniLegalGroup.com to learn more.