What Is the Difference Between Trademark and Copyright?

Many people tend to use the terms "copyright" and "trademark" interchangeably but in nature the two are not exactly the same.

Whereas a trademark mainly protects a brand name, a logo, or a slogan, to prevent customer confusion in the marketplace, copyright protects creative works. Some of these include: slides, photographs, catalogs, pantomimes, directories, choreographic works, compilations of information, architectural designs and blueprints, fiction, different types of software, speeches, lectures, interviews, websites, newsletters, newspapers, magazines, letters, leaflets, journals, poetry, plays, screenplays, creative and technical writing, song lyrics, music videos, music, various graphic designs, sculptures, and motion pictures.

Note, it is not possible to both trademark and copyright the same subject matter. It is either functioning as a trademark in the marketplace, or it is functioning as a creative work.

In short, if a word, logo, slogan, or color would be immediately recognized by an average consumer as a “brand” and as a source of a product or service, then it is properly protected by trademark law. Otherwise, the creative work is likely protected under copyright law.

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