101 Series – How Trademarks are Different

How Trademarks are different from Patents and Copyrights?

Trademarks are different from a patent or a copyright.  A trademark is a brand used on products and services. A patent typically protects inventions, like new machines, processes or chemical compositions.   A copyright typically protects an original artwork, like a painting, song or book.  Although trademarks, patents, and copyrights provide different forms of protection for different types of intellectual property they can be used together.

Trademarks are Different from Patents and Copyrights

Patents, Copyright and Trademarks all work together to protect a company’s intellectual property. Photo Credit: Bru-nO on Pixabay

To help illustrate how trademarks are different, think about a new invention.  Suppose you invented a new type of watch, you might apply for a patent to protect the way the new watch operates.  It is an invention. You could also apply for a trademark to protect a brand name or logo used for in advertising the watch to the public. You might also register photographs of the watch with the Copyright Office. These are three ways to protect different forms of intellectual property associated with the new watch: brands, inventions, and artistic works. They are all important to the company who invented and sells the watch and all three work in different ways to protect the watch.  They all contribute to the company’s intellectual property portfolio and help illustrate that trademarks are different form the other forms of intellectual property.

Registering Trademarks is different from registering Domain Names or Business Names.  Trademarks are federally registered through the Trademark Office; domain names are registered through a domain name registrar. They are not the same thing. One identifies the source of goods and services; the other is the address for a website.  To obtain federal trademark rights, you must register a trademark with the Trademark Office.

A Trademarks is also different from a domain name or a business name.  A domain name is like an electronic address the company uses to interact with internet users.  A company name is registered with a state where the company exists and allows the business to operate.  A business name registration with a state does not grant you trademark rights; it merely means that a particular state allows you to conduct business within that state under that name.  A Trademark is different from a business name.  A trademark has to do with what consumer see when the purchase a product or service.  It has nothing to do with what entity the State interacts with for taxes or licensing purposes.  Trademarks have nothing to do with legal operations of the company.  Likewise, a domain name identifies an internet location where you can interact with the company it is different than a trademark.

In summary, Trademarks are Different from other forms of intellectual property.  Trademarks protect brands, Patents protect inventions and Copyrights protect original works of art.  Domain names are web addresses, and Business names are entity names under which your state allows you to do business.  They are related, and sometimes overlap, but are all different.

Additional information about trademarks can be found on the trademark section of our website.  If you have any questions about protecting various types of intellectual property including your trademark, please contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys.