Trademark vs Copyright: Know the Key Differences

Have you ever wondered what the differences are between trademarks and copyrights? As an entrepreneur or creative, it’s important to understand how these two types of intellectual property can protect your business name, brand, content, and creations.

This article will clearly explain the distinctions between trademarks and copyrights, so you can make informed decisions about safeguarding your intellectual property.

What is a Trademark?

A trademark protects words, phrases, symbols, designs, or a combination of these elements that identifies the source of a particular product or service. For example, the Nike swoosh or the McDonald’s golden arches are instantly recognizable trademarks.

The main purpose of a trademark is to distinguish a company’s goods or services from competitors. Trademarks help prevent customer confusion about the origin of a product. They also represent the brand’s reputation and goodwill.

Some examples of things that can be trademarked include:

  • Brand names
  • Logos
  • Taglines or slogans
  • Package designs
  • Service marks

Trademarks are registered through the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks in India. The registration is valid for 10 years and can be renewed indefinitely as long as the mark remains in use.

What is a Trademark Symbol?

When a trademark application is pending, the TM symbol is used. Once registered, the ® symbol denotes a registered trademark.

A copyright protects original works of authorship like literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works. This includes things like:

  • Books, poems, novels
  • Movies, videos, films
  • Lyrics, songs
  • Drawings, paintings, photographs
  • Sculptures, architecture
  • Computer software
  • Recipes

Copyrights protect the expressive content – not ideas, procedures, or facts. The copyright owner has the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, publicly perform, publicly display, and make derivative works from the original content.

Copyrights are registered through the Copyright Office in India and last for 60 years after the author’s death.

The © symbol indicates a copyrighted work. It puts others on notice that the work is protected and the copyright holder reserves certain rights.

Key Differences Between Trademarks and Copyrights

While trademarks and copyrights are both intellectual property, there are some important distinctions:

Protect names, slogans, logos, designs used in commerceProtect original works of authorship like art, books, films
Identify the SOURCE of a product or serviceProtect the EXPRESSION of ideas
Registered through Trademark OfficeRegistered through Copyright Office
Protect brand identity and goodwillProtect creativity and prevent unauthorized copying
Valid for 10 years, renewableValid for life of creator + 60 years
Denoted by TM, ® symbolsDenoted by © symbol

So while trademarks protect brand identities, copyrights protect creative content. A company can leverage both to fully protect their intellectual property.

Which One Should You Register?

The type of intellectual property protection you need depends on what you want to protect.

  • If you have a business name, brand, logo, or slogan to protect, a trademark is recommended.
  • If you have written a book, song lyrics, blog content, or other creative work, a copyright will safeguard your legal rights.
  • Software often requires both trademarks on the brand name/logo as well as copyrights on the source code.
  • Product names, packaging, and industrial designs may be covered by trademarks, copyrights, or both.

Consult an intellectual property attorney if you need guidance on the best strategy. But generally:

  • Register a trademark for your brand identity and any names/logos associated with your business.
  • Copyright any creative content, art, videos, photos, software code, books, music, etc. you produce.

The strongest protection will come from registering both trademarks and copyrights for your various intellectual property assets.

Protect Your Intellectual Property with

If you need help protecting your original content and brand identity, can assist with trademark and copyright registrations. is an accounting services company that provides comprehensive business and legal services including:

  • Trademark registration
  • Copyright registration
  • Company registration
  • Income tax filing
  • GST registration and filing
  • Accounting and bookkeeping

With a team of expert professionals, makes trademark and copyright registration easy, affordable, and stress-free. They handle the entire process for you seamlessly.

Contact today to discuss your specific needs and get your intellectual property protected. Proper trademarks and copyrights give you legal rights and prevent costly infringement. Don’t wait – get your IP registered now!


Q: How much does it cost to register a trademark in India?

A: Trademark registration fees in India start from approx. Rs. 4,500 to Rs. 9,000 depending on the type of trademark application. offers trademark registration services starting at just Rs. 4,999.

Q: Can I use the TM symbol without registering my trademark?

A: Yes, you can use the TM symbol to claim trademark rights even before registration. But registration provides stronger legal protection and exclusive nationwide rights.

Q: Do I have to register my copyright?

A: While optional, registering your copyright provides extra legal benefits like the ability to sue for infringement. Unregistered works still receive copyright protections though.

Q: Should I trademark my logo, brand name, and slogan?

A: It’s smart to trademark any brand identifiers you want to protect. Logos, names, taglines, packaging designs, etc. are eligible marks. Discuss options with a trademark attorney.

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