Business terminology can be complex and difficult to understand. For instance, a California business owner might be confused as to whether he or she needs a trademark, copyright or patent. These terms are often used synonymously, although they are mean different things.
It is important to understand the differences between these three terms in order to determine which is the best fit for a set of circumstances. Trademarks, copyrights and patents all offer legal protection to their owners. There are various benefits to having one over another, which is why a business owner should do some research before deciding what is needed.
A trademark can protect a word, phrase or design
Anything that is intended to identify a particular brand, company or product, such as a logo, a title or a phrase, may be registered as a trademark, provided it is not already registered to someone else. This type of legal protection prevents others from using the same or a similar “mark” in their company name, marketing campaigns, logos, etc. One of the most recognizable trademarks is “Coca-Cola.”
What do patents and copyrights protect?
A patent protects things like inventions, pharmaceutical drugs or chemical compositions, while a copyright protects artistic or literary works. Copyrighted materials often include song lyrics, photographs or novels. If an inventor has a patent, no one else may copy, manufacture, use or sell the patented idea or product. Any California business owner, entrepreneur or private resident who is facing legal concerns regarding trademarks, patents or copyrights may request a meeting with an attorney who is well-versed in intellectual property laws to discuss his or her case.