Business owners with copyrights, patents, and trademarks for a particular product always get an edge over their competitors. These three ensure originality and prevent others from copying your business’s intellectual property. But before you apply for them, it’s important to understand the difference between copyright vs. trademark vs. patent.

This blog will discuss everything about these three, including what they are, where you can apply, and what they protect. So, let’s get started.

What is a trademark?

A trademark identifies a design, word, or phrase as unique and distinguishable. The owner of a trademark can be a business organization, an individual, or any legal entity. So, with a trademark, you can distinguish your product, service, or idea. You also save it from copying it. Remember, a trademark doesn’t focus on the functionality of a product. Instead, it bars others from creating similar marks or designs.

An example of how even a phrase can be patented is Paris Hilton’s catchphrase ‘’that’s hot!’’. Many celebrities have patented or tried to patent their popular catchphrases. Another example is Apple’s iconic logo that’s also been trademarked. Similarly, you can trademark your logo, tagline, or catchphrase and save it from infringement.

What does a trademark protect?

The trademark protects the following individual properties:

  • A feature of the product/service
  • The product/service
  • The facilitator or provider of the product/service

Advantages of a trademark

Trademarks offer multiple advantages for businesses and individuals. The biggest advantage is that competitors cannot register a trademark and cannot deceptively make similar variations of your products or services.

After registering a trademark, you can legally use the Ⓡ symbol to show that your product or service is trademarked. With this symbol, people will trust your offerings as it establishes the legitimacy of your company and brand. A trademark is also a great way to safeguard your unique offerings from duplicacy infringement.

How much does a trademark cost?

Usually, the cost of a trademark ranges anywhere from $225 to $600 per class when trademarked at the United States Patent and Trademark Office [USPTO]

However, the cost varies due to many factors, like the number of marks and the number of classes, such as goods or services. It will also depend on where you file the trademark and how much does the attorney charge for it.

Which businesses need a trademark?

Any business or individual can apply to get a product or service trademarked. You can apply for a trademark if you think you have a unique name, logo, tagline, or anything different.

If you do not get a trademark on what you make or offer, you cannot protect its right of use beyond your immediate geographic location. However, with a trademark, you can operate globally without worrying about someone else making the product without your permission.

Coca-ColaⓇ, and KFC’s ‘it’s finger lickin’ good!Ⓡ, and Just do itⓇ are popular examples of trademarks.

How to get a trademark?

You can visit the USPTO site and register a trademark. Ensure you fulfill all the legal formalities for a smooth process.

What is a patent?

A patent is a popular way to recognize the property rights of its creator or creators legally. It shows that the invention, discovery, or process is unique and belongs to the creator. That also means no one other than the original creator can manufacture, sell, or use the invention.

Patents are approved in four main categories: design, utility, and plant. Design patents are approved for ornamental designs, while utility patents are given for useful processes, compositions, and items. On the other hand, plant patents are approved for original plant discoveries and reproductions.

What does a patent protect?

  • A patent protects technological innovations.
  • It can also be used to protect non-technical inventions.

Advantages of getting a patent

The biggest advantage of patenting an original work is that it can be protected from potential copying or selling without permission. Developing a product or process takes a lot of effort, money, and research so it should be saved from any sort of infringement.

How much does a patent cost?

The cost of patenting a product or idea varies depending on the complexities of the invention and the company size.

However, a patent can usually cost anywhere from $75 to $300. But that is the basic fee. Additional expenses would take the overall patent costs to thousands of dollars.

Which businesses need a patent?

Businesses that manufacture products, machines, chemical formulas, and any unique process need a patent to protect them from copying or infringement. However, the invention must be unique and novel to be patentable.

Also, no other patent should exist for the invention. Even if a patent is registered in any other country, you will not be approved for a new one. It is better to hire a patent attorney to find out its process and get your products patented easily.

How to get a patent?

You need to visit the USPTA site and fill a patent application.

What is copyright?

A copyright protects an original work from any potential copying or infringement. It discourages others from falsely owning a work. Copyright gives legal rights to the original owner. No other person can copy, adapt, distribute, or display the work.

Therefore, copyright protects created works, including graphic designs, books, articles, photographs, songs, movies, illustrations, etc.

So, when thinking copyright vs trademark vs patentknow that copyright gives the owner the right to exclusively reproduce, sell, distribute, and display the work. Although an original work is in itself a copyright, it is always recommended that it should be formally registered as original and authentic to prevent any dispute.

What does copyright protect?

Copyright protects the following.

  • Original work of authorship
  • Graphic design
  • Artistic pieces and more

Advantages of copyright

Registering an original work as a copyright has numerous advantages. So, if you are the creator of an artwork, you can easily prove your ownership due to copyright.

Copyrights automatically protect created works. But, it can be hard to prove that it’s your original work if someone steals and copies it.

Therefore, one of the advantages of copyright is that you can file a copyright infringement lawsuit case against someone who stole or copied your original work.

So, registering your original work as soon as possible before anyone tries to steal or corrupt it would be a good idea.

How much does copyright cost?

Registering an original work as a copyright is inexpensive. But what is the cost of copyright? The online registration fee is $45. Secondary fees, such as charges for additional certificates, are also involved, but overall, the cost is still minimal.

Which businesses require copyright?

All businesses producing original works should apply for a copyright. If you have a creative work digitally saved, printed, recorded, or made tangibly, it should require you to copyright it. All works of literature, art, photographs, written content, and many more are popular examples of copyright.

Businesses become aware of copyright laws since most content is now available online. Therefore, know how to use copyright material to your advantage without infringing on anyone’s rights.

How to get a copyright?

When you have your work in a tangible form, it automatically becomes your copyright. Alternatively, you can opt for copyright registration with the US copyright office.

Trademark vs. patent vs. copyright?

When you get a trademark or a patent or a copyright, it protects you from any duplicating of your original work or products. It also is a way to have an edge over your competitors.

But only you can determine if protecting something is worth it because the entire process can be costly due to the complexities involved. So, go ahead, get a trademark or patent or copyright only when you need it.

You can opt for a trademark, copyright, or patent depending on what you are trying to protect. All of them serve the same purpose, keeping your work, products, or services safe from infringement.

Wrapping Up

Copyright, trademark, and patent all have the same purpose of protecting a product or service or anything else from copying and infringement. But which one is the best alternative depends on what are you protecting. You have all the three options open to explore.