Differentiate between trademark and copyright

Copyright and trademark comes under intellectual property. Although both look the same, sometimes it creates confusion in the readers' mind. Let us give brief idea about copyright and trademark and difference between them


The main objective of copyright is to protect the artist's original work. Work may be a photo, book, painting, software code; article etc. copyright gives the owner a right to reproduce their work or profit off their underlying work.

The principle involved is pretty simple "if you create something new or original work, you have to choose what to do". To get the copyrights you have to register first and get permission from the respective government by paying fees.

In India, there is a special act called Indian copyright Act 1957 which gives guidelines to register and protect the artist's original work. Companies can use trademark names etc. on similar products. They can be the same for different products. For example, Delta air lines and Delta faucets can exists


The main objective of a trademark is to protect a word, a phase, a symbol or a device. Trademarks can be a brand name, their logo, a tagline or a slogan. For example, CocaCola, Apple etc. Trademarks help the business in distinguishing their products clearly and make customers to clearly distinguish them in the market.

For example, there are many cool drinks in the market, there are many black cool drinks in the market; to distinguish Coca-Cola from the market is easier, if they trademark their name, logo and formula.

To get a trademark, first the company or person has to register their product according to government rules. In India, there is a trademark Act 1999, which gives the guidelines and procedure to register with appropriate fees.


The major differences between a trademark and a copyright are as follows −

The symbol for copyright is ©The symbol for trademark is ™
Music, software, movies etc. are copyrighted.Goods and services have a trademark.
It protects from copying, sellingOthers can't use similar words or phrases etc.
Comes under Indian copyright Act 1957Comes under Trademark Act 1999
Shields original creation.Shields Marks (brand marks).
Issued for the long term.Issued for a short term, when compared to copyrights.
Examples − Batman characters in comic books, movies.For example, only the Nike Company can use the word NIKE and nobody else can use the word.

Updated on: 19-Jul-2021


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