When you think of the terms, “trademark” and “copyright”, you probably know that both offer some sort of intellectual property protection. Did you know there’s a distinct difference between the types of protection they offer?
A trademark is any word, name, phrase, logo or symbol that is used to identify its source. Many trademarks today cover a variety of business intellectual property such as slogans, logos and branding. Where copyrights have expiry dates, trademarks can last forever, since their protection rights come directly from their use in commerce. While not obligatory, a trademark may be registered and may continue to enjoy the advantages of registration as long as required documents are filed in relation to the trademark and any associated fees are paid in a timely way.
One common misconception about trademarks has to do with its protection of business names. While in some cases a business name may qualify as a trademark, to be afforded trademark protection, a business name must be used as the source of particular goods or services. In most states, businesses are required to register their name for certification and authorization to do business in a specific state. While a state may authorize a particular business to operate under a specific name, it does not necessarily afford the business name with trademark protection.
Copyrights are a little different. According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) “…a copyright protects works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture”1. For modern works, a variety of factors affect the duration of a particular copyright. The most general of the duration rules states that, for a work that is published in the name of its author, the protection lasts the lifetime of the author and an additional 70 years. However, for an anonymous work, the copyright’s protection lasts 95 years from the year of its original publication or 120 years from the year of its original creation, expiring the date that comes first. For this reason, modern works created after 1978 do not have to undergo a renewal process for copyright protection.
The Kendrick Law Group is dedicated to providing you quality legal counsel to help you seek the intellectual property protection you deserve. Call today for a complimentary trademark review.
1Trademark, patent, or copyright? (n.d.) (USPTO) Retrieved from: https://www.uspto.gov/trademarks-getting-started/trademark-basics/trademark-patent-or-copyright