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What is the difference between copyrights and trademarks?

On Behalf of | Jul 26, 2021 | Intellectual Property Law |

Many businesses in Tampa rely on copyrights and trademarks to protect their intellectual property. Since intellectual property can be a significant business asset, it is important to have a basic understanding of the difference between copyrights and trademarks.

What is a copyright?

Copyrights are a type of intellectual property that protects original works including literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works. Copyrights are automatically generated when the artistic work is created. However, if a work has no tangible form it cannot be copyrighted. Also, works that are part of the public domain cannot be copyrighted a second time. This is because the original copyright has either expired, was forfeited or was waived. While it is not required, many people choose to register their original works with the U.S. Copyright Office. Doing so adds the copyright to the public record. Moreover, if registered within five years of its creation, the registered copyright is considered prima facie evidence if it is the subject of a subsequent lawsuit.

What is a trademark?

Trademarks are a type of intellectual property that protects words, phrases, symbols and designs that distinguish a specific brand or business from others. This may include brand names, logos, business names and slogans. You cannot trademark words, phrases, symbols and designs that are already in use. Unlike copyrights, trademarks have no expiration date, as long as a business continues to use the trademark. Trademarks are established through the common use of the mark in business operations. Trademarks can be registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Learn more about intellectual property in the business world

If you own a business, it is likely that you utilize copyrights and trademarks within the usual course of business operations. Thus, it is important to understand how these forms of intellectual property differ from one another. This post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Those who want to learn more about intellectual property in Florida may find our firm’s website to be informative.