Trademark vs. Copyright

Trademark vs. Copyright

Both trademark and copyright are ways of intellectual property protection.

Trademark is used in trade with goods in order to distinguish the origin of the good from the origin of other goods. It takes the form of TM symbol. Trademarks are used for words, names, symbols, devices, products and services. In case of the latter, the mark of origin is called Servicemark and it takes the form of SM symbol.

It is very important to understand, that trademark is used solely to distinguish one good from the other, which may have a similar name or appearance. It means, that others may make or provide a similar product or service and legally sell it under a different name, mark or symbol.

Copyright protects "original works of authorship" and usually it is used with artistic and intellectual outputs like: articles, books, movies or songs, both published and unpublished. The owner of copyright has the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, perform and display the copyrighted work for a wide audience.

Here, it is very important to mention, that copyrights protect the form of expression and process rather than output or product. For example, if the user manual for a vacuum cleaner is copyright it solely means that you cannot copy the document, but you can write and distribute your own written user manual and what is more, you may certainly use a vacuum cleaner.

So, in summary:

Both the trademarks and copyrights are designed to protect intellectual property. The first prevents the use of similar names which might be confusing, while the second protect the original works that have been tangibly expressed in a physical form. Trademarks do not expire, while copyrights usually expire after 70 years of author death.

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