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13 Differences Between Copyright and Trademark (Trademark vs. Copyright)

13 Differences Between Copyright and Trademark (Trademark vs. Copyright)

Deciding Between Trademark And Copyright

The symbol ™ and the letter R enclosed in a circle indicate trademarks. ™ means it is unregistered while R means it is registered. The symbols indicating copyright are C and P enclosed in circles, C standing for Current and P representing Sound Recordings. Trademarks point out and differentiate sources of goods between parties to prevent confusion. Copyrights ensure protection of tangible expressions of authorship to reserve rights.

How Trademarks Are Used

Trademarks can be applied to words or phrases as well as symbols and designs. This could be a company name, slogan, motto or other promotional image. Copyrights are reserved entirely for works of art. These include writings and performances as well as music (songs and albums).

Trademark Statistics

Where numbers are concerned, there are 16 million trademarks active right now. These are sanctioned by state, federal and common law. There are 700,000 claims to register copyrights each and every year.

Comparison to Copyright

Trademark rights are withdrawn after they are inactive for five years. Copyrights last for the life of the author or for seventy years. Copyrights applied to corporations last one hundred and twenty years. Enforcement of trademarks is the responsibility of the trademark holder and their attorney. Likewise, copyright enforcement is the job of the copyright holder and their respective attorney.


The goal of a trademark is to keep another company from utilizing similar marks because it is confusing. However, other companies can make and sell the same items. A copyright ensures exclusivity for the owner, author, artist or musician. Copyright owners are permitted to distribute, reproduce, import, export, transmit, perform and sell their creations. In addition, copyright owners have the right to create new works based from the original copyright.

Time and Value

Trademarks can be obtained quickly, easily and cheaply through Trademark Express. The consultation is free. The trademark attorney is free. Trademark Express – established in 1992 – is open 24 hours a day. They have processed an impressive 70,000 trademarks and have five trademark attorneys ready to serve. You can save $850 by working directly with a trademark attorney.

Acquiring a copyright costs more money and requires you to deal with the government (something no one ever wants to do)! To get a copyright, you must apply online or in person with the United States Copyright Office. There is a nonrefundable charge to file your application. You also must provide a deposit of works, which is also nonrefundable.

After analyzing the pros and cons of trademarks versus copyrights, it seems the decision is pretty obvious. Trademarks are simple, easy and cheap to acquire. Copyrights are costly and a hassle to apply for and maintain. Deciding between trademark and copyright seems like an easy choice when you weigh out the good and bad of each.

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