A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. A service mark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than goods. Think brand names, slogans, and logos. The term "trademark" is often used to refer to both trademarks and service marks. Unlike patents and copyrights, trademarks do not expire after a set term of years. Instead, a trademark can last forever, so long as the owner continues to use the mark in commerce to indicate the source of goods and services.
Must all marks be registered? No, but federal registration has several advantages, including a notice to the public of the registrant's claim of ownership of the mark, a legal presumption of ownership nationwide, and the exclusive right to use the mark on or in connection with the goods or services set forth in the registration.
A patent is a limited duration property right relating to an invention, granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office in exchange for public disclosure of the invention. Patentable materials include machines, manufactured articles, industrial processes, and chemical compositions. The duration of patent protection depends on the type of patent granted: 14 years for design patents and 20 years for utility and plant patents.
A copyright protects works of authorship that have been tangibly expressed in a physical form. Think songs, books, movies, and works of art. The duration of copyright protection depends on several factors. For works created by an individual, protection lasts for the life of the author, plus 70 years. For works created anonymously, pseudonymously, and for hire, protection lasts 95 years from the date of publication or 120 years from the date of creation, whichever is shorter.
Some additional differences between a copyright and a trademark are as follows:
1. The purpose of a copyright is to protect works of authorship as fixed in a tangible form of expression. Thus, copyright covers: a) works of art (2 or 3 dimensional), b) photos, pictures, graphic designs, drawings and other forms of images; c) songs, music and sound recordings of all kinds; d) books, manuscripts, publications and other written works; and e) plays, movies, shows, and other performance arts.
2. The purpose of a trademark is to protect words, phrases and logos used in federally regulated commerce to identify the source of goods and/or services.
3. There may be occasions when both copyright and trademark protection are desired with respect to the same business endeavor. For example, a marketing campaign for a new product may introduce a new slogan for use with the product, which also appears in advertisements for the product. However, copyright and trademark protection will cover different things. The advertisement's text and graphics, as published in a particular vehicle, will be covered by copyright - but this will not protect the slogan as such. The slogan may be protected by trademark law, but this will not cover the rest of the advertisement. If you want both forms of protection, you will have to perform both types of registration.
4. If you are interested in protecting a title, slogan, or other short word phrase, generally you want a trademark. Copyright law does not protect a bare phrase, slogan, or trade name.
5. Whether an image should be protected by trademark or copyright law depends on whether its use is intended to identify the source of goods or services. If an image is used temporarily in an ad campaign, it generally is not the type of thing intended to be protected as a logo.
6. The registration processes of copyright and trademark are entirely different. For copyright, the filing fee is small, the time to obtain registration is relatively short, and examination by the Copyright Office is limited to ensuring that the registration application is properly completed and suitable copies are attached. For trademark, the filing fee is more substantial, the time to obtain registration is much longer, and examination by the Trademark Office includes a substantive review of potentially conflicting marks which are found to be confusingly similar. While copyright registration is primarily an administrative process, trademark registration is very much an adversarial process.
7. Copyright law provides for compulsory licensing and royalty payments - there is no analogous concept in trademark law. Plus, the tests and definition of infringement are considerably different under copyright law and trademark law.
The rules above are not obligatory for all the countries. In different countries th rules are also different. To be sure your authr's rights are protected is necessary to think about interational registration of trade mark or other forms which best fit your intellectual property.
And we are here to help to choose the appropriate way. Just contact us to find out all the details.
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