Trademarks vs. Copyright: Which is Right For You?

Intellectual Property is one of the most valuable assets that any business has. Most businesses know that, but they are less clear on what kind of Intellectual Property they actually have – trademarks, copyright, or patents. How can businesses protect their Intellectual Property, and when should they? How can they identify what kind of Intellectual Property they actually have? Here are the major differences between trademarks and copyright:


A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, design, or combination that identifies your goods or services. It is what distinguishes your business from every other one on the market. A trademark could be anything from your company’s name, logo, and slogan to the shape, smell, or sound of your products. Anything that is deemed unique and distinguished enough to be totally yours can be a trademark.

Trademarks are registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Trademarks do not have to be registered in order to be used. However, registering with the USPTO gives you enhanced legal protection. Work with an attorney to get through the complex prosecution process to improve your chances of obtaining a federal trademark registration.


Copyright protects original artistic works that are fixed in a tangible medium. Importantly, tangible does not mean physical – it means the work can be experienced in one set form by anyone who encounters it. Copyright protects everything from films, songs, commercials, and video games to phone apps, dance moves, architecture, and blog posts.

Copyright is registered with the United States Copyright Office. Similar to trademarks, copyright does not have to be registered before releasing an artistic work. Registering your copyright gives you additional legal protection. You will retain the sole legal right to make reproductions of your work and profit from it – the “right” to make a “copy” of it, so to speak. Copyright lasts for seventy years past the lifetime of the original author of the work.

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Your brand is one of the most important elements of your business. You’ve worked hard to create it, so don’t leave it vulnerable. Protecting your Intellectual Property through trademarks and copyright ensures that what makes your business unique stays yours. For more information, get in touch with CLARK.LAW.

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At CLARK.LAW, we’ve built a different type of law firm. Our attorneys and staff have impressive educational and professional experience – but, unlike traditional law firms, we embrace modern technology to create efficient workflows and processes. Today’s business leaders should have access to high-quality legal guidance without subjecting themselves to the waste and excessive overhead that plagues traditional law firms.