We defined trademarks as a “source identifier” related to a product or service provided in the marketplace, and operate quite differently than copyright protection for start up businesses and content producers. Trademarks can be words, phrases, symbols, and/or designs used to distinguish the products of one person or company from those of another. Copyrights, on the other hand, pertain to original works of authorship, or creative expressions that have been reduced to a tangible form. Copyright protection extends to literary, dramatic, musical, artistic works, motion pictures, computer software and more. So now you know the difference between the two forms of intellectual property protection. The question is:
WHICH ONE IS RIGHT FOR ME?
It depends. Virtually any business or enterprise, including non-profits, can benefit from trademark protection because most businesses market their goods or services under a brand, and trademark protection is the appropriate legal tool to protect a brand from unfair use and competition. On the other hand, copyright law applies to content creators; those who write advertising copy, song lyrics and music, screenplays and novels, computer codes and instructions for mobile applications or websites, graphic designers, directors of feature length films, editors of video shorts, photographers, choreographers, and composers. Since a copyright may exist in the works these artist and others produce, and since many artists consider their craft as a source of their livelihood, copyright law is among the strongest legal tools to protect proprietary or original works.
To learn more about copyright law, click here to visit our Copyright Law page or visit the U.S. Copyright Office site here. Look out for future posts where we will discuss how to acquire copyright and trademark protection, defenses to copyright and trademark infringement, the dynamics between trademarks and Top Level Domains, and other forms of intellectual property protection such as patents and trade secrets.
Author: David N. Sharifi, Esq. is a Los Angeles based intellectual property attorney and technology startup consultant with focuses in entertainment law, emerging technologies, trademark protection, and “the internet of things”. David was recognized as one of the Top 30 Most Influential Attorneys in Digital Media and E-Commerce Law by the Los Angeles Business Journal in 2014. Office: Ph: 310-751-0181; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: The content above is a discussion of legal issues and general information; it does not constitute legal advice and should not be used as such without seeking professional legal counsel. Reading the content above does not create an attorney-client relationship. All trademarks are the property of L.A. Tech & Media Law Firm or their respective owners. Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.