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  • Writer's pictureKate Kliebert

What is the difference between Trademark and Copyright.

Trademarks and a copyrights are types of intellectual property protection that allow you to defend against any unauthorized use.

Trademark law protects certain designs or words or any combination of designs and words that recognize the goods or services you provide. This helps to keep the goodwill you’ve built in your specific company brand protected. Competitors in your industry can't use your trademark to sell similar goods or services.

You can obtain a common law trademark simply by using the mark in commerce. You don’t really have to “do” anything to get that protection. But the protections you get from registering are stronger.

Trademarks can be registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Registering the trademark offers additional protection against improper use. If you have a brand that is exclusive and valuable to you, you want to consider registering your trademark. This gives you protection around names, words, terms and symbols, logos, sounds, colors and even scents that are identified within your brand.

Trademarking tips:

● Use the ™ symbol for unregistered marks to put others on notice of your rights

● Once you are registered with USPTO, you can use the ® symbol

● Consider licensing your intellectual property for extra revenue

● You can pursue legal action to stop infringement (easier if registered)

Copyright is protection given to the creator of specific work. It protects the rights of the creator and the ownership of what has been created. This includes books, songs, movies, photos, writing, poetry, and artistic creations. Copyright protection gives the owner of a work the exclusive right to do things like display, copy, reproduce, or perform the work. The owner also has the exclusive right to create derivative works created from the work.

You can register a copyright with the United States Copyright Office. It is important to know that copyright protection for creative work is automatic. However, if you register, you are protected and given more rights if infringement occurs, such as the right to sue infringers and potentially recover attorneys’ fees. These rights have been granted by the 1976 United States Copyright Act. Adding the copyright symbol to your work isn’t required but it is helpful in identifying your work with your name and in putting others on notice that you own the work.

A software company is a great example of an industry that would apply for protection for their unique software code. Copyright it so it can’t be duplicated or stolen.

It is common for Photographers, Artists, and Creators to have their digital media stolen.

To keep costs down you can register collective works like albums, photographs, or an anthology of poems, short stories or essays that share ownership under one registration instead of paying separate filing fees for each individual work.

What is Digital stealing?

Digital intellectual property theft is using the Internet to steal another's ideas, concepts, or work. Downloading, transferring files, hacking, and pirating media and audio clips that are copyright and trademark protected are criminal offenses.

When you’re selling digital products, you benefit from the absence of inventory and shipping, but you get piracy as a constant threat instead. It is remarkably easy for someone to steal your intellectual property — music, designs, eBooks, software — and distribute it under their own name.

The numbers associated with piracy are staggering. Microsoft estimates that piracy costs the software industry $491B each year. Another estimate pegs the loss between $200 to $250B within the US alone.

Regardless of the numbers, one thing is clear: theft can be a serious problem when you’re selling digital products.

If you want to know more about trademarking and working with an attorney, here are a couple resources.


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