The world in 2021 is the centerpiece of innovation! Ranging from the latest 5G technology to the automated driving functionalities, innovation is everywhere. However, when it comes to innovation, we all understand that it is an effort of years and sometimes takes decades to perform and execute. 

What if someone would simply use your years of effort to create a similar alternative? 

Looks like a heinous crime right? Except it’s not until you reserve the rights over your creation! The Intellectual Property Law is one of the fastest-growing legal fields which binds together different aspects of safety and security around one’s creative works, innovation, or brand. 

While the domain of holding the intellectual property is vast, there are a few terms that are very common and most commonly confused with. They are:


These three different IP rights are most commonly confused with and to help settle these three different IP rights, we’ve come up with a comparative analysis to help you gain a better understanding. Let’s understand the difference between Patents, Copyright, and Trademark.

Trademark, Copyright, Patent: The Primary Difference

What Is a Copyright?

We use copyrights to protect content or work that is creative! No matter if you’ve created a piece of music, book, movie, or this very content, you can claim its copyright. 

Now, it should be noted that copyright can only be applied when you have created a product of your own. You cannot use copyright for a product that you were hired to create. Further, you don’t really need to do anything to own the copyright of your products, other than registering it.

Remember, copyrights don’t necessarily protect an idea, they are the means to secure the thought. 

For example, in case you’ve designed a car, its copyright can only prevent others from taking inspiration from the structural build. However, copyright won’t be applicable to the new design that you invented.

What Is a Patent?

The sole purpose of a patent is to protect your invention. Patents are applicable in discoveries where you’ve invented a new product that can be easily copied by anyone else. Unlike copyright, you cannot claim it without applying for it. 

However, it should be noted that before applying for a patent, you need to demonstrate exactly how it was made or invented. If you look at it, a patent is a form of trade where you make your knowledge accessible to the public, in exchange for some monopoly on that knowledge. 

Remember, you won’t have any patent rights unless you apply for one. Further, patents are both complicated and time-sensitive and can last up to 20 years, once you’ve filed the application

What Is a Trademark?

Trademark is a completely different aspect from patent and copyright. Here, it protects identifiers and symbols. Having a trademark allows consumers to have an idea of the source of a service or good that they’re consuming. 

Traditionally, a trademark can be defined as a name or a symbol (Nike or Golden Arches for McDonald’s). However, it can also be a product’s shape (Goldfish crackers), it’s packaging (Coca-Cola’s bottle), or even a color that resembles your brand (Tiffany blue). 

Remember, registering for a trademark is the best way to protect your rights. Further, there’s no clause on the time as a trademark can last forever if you continue using it.

Now, to help you understand better, here’s a detailed chart that explains better. 

Categories  Copyright Trademark Patent
Governed Under  The Copyright Act, 1957 Trade Marks Act, 1999 The Patents Act, 1970
Type Of Protection Protects original creative expressions Protects a brand’s unique  name Protects an invention or an original idea
Validity  Valid for the author’s lifetime +60 years after their death Valid for 10 years, followed by renewal every decade Valid for 20 years, starting from the day of application
Secures Intellectual or creative creations Branding under which product or service comes Secures inventions

Now You Know!

This was a wrap on the difference between a trademark, copyright, and a patent. Now that you know the core difference between the concepts, we hope that you’ll be able to use the right tool at the right time. Remember, patents, trademarks, and copyright not only help you secure the rights to your brainchild but also help you monetize it. Choose them wisely!