The Difference Between Copyright, Patent, and Trademark

When talking about intellectual property, the terms Copyright, Patent, and Trademark tend to get confused. Here are the basic definitions of copyrights, trademarks and patents what they cover.

What is a Copyright?

A copyright is a form of protection provided to authors of “original works of authorship”, both published and unpublished. A Copyright protects the form of expression rather than the subject of the expression.

Federal copyright registrations are issued by the U.S. Copyright Office. They give the copyright owner exclusive rights to reproduce the copyrighted work, to prepare derivative works, to distribute copies of the work, and to perform and display the work publicly.

What is a Trademark?

A Trademark is a word, name, symbol or device which indicates the source of a product and distinguishes it from the products of others. A servicemark identifies and distinguishes the source of a service instead of a product.

Trademarks are issued by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. They prevent others from using a confusingly similar mark, but cannot prevent others from making the same products or from selling the same products under a clearly different mark.

What is a Patent?

A Patent is the grant of a property right to an inventor. What is granted is the right to exclude others from using, offering for sale, selling or importing the invention.

Patents are issued by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

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