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Difference Between Copyright, Trademark & Patent

Some people confuse between patents, copyrights and trademarks. These are three main types of intellectual property protections which have some similarities among each other, but each type is used for a specific type of work and serve different purpose.


Copyright is a form of protection provided to the authors for there original work. It includes Literature, dramatic, musical, artistic and intellectual work both published or unpublished. It is an exclusive right to a particular expression, idea, information or original creation. The copyright symbol, ©, appears next to the work to serve as notice the work is under the protection of the Copyright Office. You can formally register a copyright, but you may also have automatic protection of your rights even without registering something you created. For example, if someone wrote an article about a new website, the text would be copyrighted, preventing someone else from using that particular material. A copyright does not prevent others from writing their own original article about this new website.


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Trademark provides a right to use a word, symbol, device, logo, jingles, slogan etc. that relates to your company, product or service. It is used in trade with goods to indicate the source of the goods and to distinguish them from the goods of others. A trademark may also be used to prevent others from using a mark that might be confused with another; trademarks, however, do not prevent other people or businesses from producing the same product or services under a different mark. Trademarks which are used in interstate or foreign commerce may be registered with the Patent and Trademark Office.


A patent for an invention grants a property right to the inventor issued by the Patent and Trademark Office that will prevent anyone else from making, using, or selling an invention. A patent lasts for a limited amount of time, usually 20 years and is only effective in the country in which it was filed. The application for a patent must include a detailed description of how the invention works. Patenting is a legal process and it fee vary depending upon what you are trying to patent.

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