What is the difference between a trademark, copyright and a patent?

Trademark, copyright, and patent are all different types of intellectual property.

It is very easy to confuse these and so we decided to write a short article to help explain the differences between the three, and which one might be necessary for your business.

What is a Patent?

A patent protects inventions. An invention is a product or a process that offers a new technical solution to an existing problem or provides a new way of doing something.

A patent is a form of intellectual property that gives its owner the legal right to exclude others from selling, using, or making an invention for a limited time. Simply put, patent protection means the invention may not be commercially used, sold, imported, or made by others without express written permission from the patent owner. If another entity or person wishes to use any part of a patent they will be expected to pay the owner and adhere to the owner’s usage guidelines.

To be granted a patent, technical information about an invention needs to be disclosed to the public in the form of a patent application.

Patents are territorial rights. Usually, a patent is applicable in the country it is filed in.

A patent usually lasts a specified time and this timeframe changes depending on which country it is registered in, a rough guideline is around 20 years.

What is a Copyright?

A copyright is a type of intellectual property that gives the owner exclusive rights and ownership over the things they create. This may include, a poem, movie, song, novel, photograph, or painting. These are your rights only, and unless you agree, no one else may use your work.

Simply put, a copyright is a collection of rights. Rights include the right to distribute copies, perform and display the work in public, and reproduce the work. The owner can license, transfer and assign these rights to others.

What is a trademark?

A trademark can be a word, symbol, design, slogan, logo, brand name, phrase, or a combination of these.

A trademark is something that identifies the services, identity, or products of a specific business. A trademark is often used to prevent other companies from trying to imitate your business to sell their goods and services. Sometimes, a trademark may simply be the name of a product or company.


Copyrights, patents, and trademarks help protect a business, product, or service. Having this protection can help increase the value of your business as well as ensure that others do not try to steal your registered ideas, products, identity, or services.

Sometimes more than one of these may overlap and we suggest you look at hiring a specialist.
We hope that you enjoyed reading this article about trademarks and we would be very grateful of you would share this with your friends and colleagues.

We have a list of companies that offer trademark, copyright and patent services to help you your business, please visit our Business Directory to see our list of trademark, copyright and patent companies.

Visit our trademark directory page

Visit our copyright directory page

Visit our patent directory page


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