Trademarks Versus Copyrights

Many people, especially those new to the business world, confuse trademarks and copyrights. It is easy to see why because they do have a lot in common. Both provide legal protection for intellectual property. However, the types of property that each protects are different from one another. What follows is an overview of how trademarks and copyrights are similar to one another, as well as how they are different.

Copyright vs. Trademark: "Can I Copyright My Band Name?"


Both trademarks and copyrights go into effect right away. You do not need to register them for them to be valid. However, you can gain extra protections for your intellectual property by registering a copyright or with a trademark filing Plano TX. Registering a trademark or a copyright produces a record of its creation and makes it easier to enforce.


If you have a work of original authorship, a copyright provides protection for it. Examples of works of original authorship include the following:

  • Short stories
  • Novels
  • Poems
  • Nonfiction works (e.g., biographies)
  • Musical compositions
  • Artistic works (e.g., paintings and sculptures)
  • Photographs
  • Audio or video recordings

For copyright protection to apply, the work must exist in a fixed form, which includes electronic forms. If you own the copyright over a work, you have the authority to grant or deny others the ability to reproduce, reprint, or otherwise use it.

A trademark applies to something that you use exclusively to identify your business. This can include a business name, a brand name, a logo, or a slogan. Your competitors cannot use your trademark or copy it too closely. However, before you start using a trademark, you should check to ensure that it is original to your business. If it is too close to a trademark already in use, it could cause you legal trouble.

Strictly speaking, a trademark applies specifically to physical goods that you sell. If you have a particular type of service that you provide, the protection for your identifiers is technically known as a service mark rather than a trademark.