Distinguishing Between Copyrights, Trademarks, and Patents
If you are considering filing for a copyright, trademark, or patent, it is important to know the specific differences between the three. Each of these may be used for specific reasons and each has its own set of advantages.
Copyrights provide protection over “original works of authorship” such as literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works. The protections offered by copyrights extend to both published and unpublished intellectual works. The 1976 Copyright Act outlines the following exclusive rights of owners:
- The right to reproduce the work
- Protected rights to derivative works
- The right to distribute the work
- The right to publicly perform or display the work
While copyrights protect the specific working or composition of intellectual works, they do not prevent others from using the same subject matter to create their own work.
Trademarks are used exclusively to denote goods produced by the trademark holder in order to set those goods apart from the products of other companies. Trademarks can be any of the following:
Trademarks protect the images or symbols used to denote a company’s goods, however they do not prevent other companies from producing the same or similar types of products.
Patents protect original inventions, designs, or formulas. They protect the inventor’s right to exclude others from any the following without his or her consent:
- Making the product
- Using the product
- Offering the product for sale
- Selling the product
- Importing the product
An important aspect of patents is that they are only granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office for a limited amount of time.
Contact a Dallas or Plano Intellectual Property Attorney
At Gagnon, Peacock & Vereeke, P.C., our attorneys have extensive knowledge regarding the various forms of intellectual property protection, and we are capable of providing legal advice regarding any issues you may have. Call our Dallas or Plano offices at (214) 317-4448 to speak to a member of our legal team today.