As an IP attorney, one of the most FAQ I get is: “What is the difference between copyrights and trademarks and which one do I need to protect my stuff?”
Trademark and copyright registrations are both types of intellectual property issued by the government, but they protect very different types of content.
Here are some key differences:
Trademarks protects names, terms and symbols that are used to identify the source of goods and/or services on the market. This means that trademarks help consumers distinguish one company’s products/services from another. Trademarks include brand names such as “Starbucks” and images such as McDonalds’s famous “golden arches.” As the owner of a federally registered trademark, you can sue for trademark infringement in federal court and prevent the importation of foreign goods that display your trademark.
On the other hand, copyrights protect original creative works such as books, movies, songs, paintings, photographs, web content, digital course materials and choreography. As the owner of a federally registered copyright, you can control how your work is reproduced, distributed and presented publicly, and you can sue infringers in federal court and prevent others from importing infringing goods.
So how does this apply to you?
If you are a creator of books, blog posts, podcast episodes, music, graphics, or any other tangible piece of work, you need to file for copyright protection to protect yourself from copycats.
If you have a unique and trademark-worthy business, program, course, event, or product name and/or logo, you may want to consider trademarking it to prevent copycats from using your same name which may lead to confusion between your products and services and theirs.
Still have questions? Book a complimentary information session with me and I will clear things up for you and steer you in the right direction.