The Difference Between Trademarks and Copyrights
Trademarks and copyrights protect your business in different ways.
Trademarks protect your branding and Copyrights protect your work.
Here’s a quick breakdown:
What is a Trademark?
A trademark is the exclusive right to use your brand...aka your company name + logo.
You're investing time + money into your brand. Without a trademark, your competitors can copy your brand, confuse your customers, and profit from your hard work.
A trademark protects you by ensuring that you are the only one who can use your brand.
That is why you need to trademark your brand.
How to Trademark a Brand
Start with a trademark search to ensure your name is available and has a good chance of success.
It's not as simple as inputting your exact company name and hitting search. You'll need to search for similar sounding words, similar spelled words, alternate pronunciation of words, complex words, foreign translations, and words found in other trademark registers. Once you get all the necessary search results, you'll need to determine if any conflicting results will hold up your application.
It's probably best to call in an expert to run your trademark search. It needs to be done correctly to make sure that your brand is available before you begin a trademark application.
You’ll create and file an application. The trademark application is notoriously difficult. 84% of trademark applications are denied in their first review.
The trademark office can deny your application for a hundred reasons, like using commas instead of semicolons...seriously!
Again, it’s a good idea to call in an expert for the trademark application to make sure it has the best chance for success. Because the trademark office doesn’t issue refunds if your application is denied.
Your application is reviewed by the Trademark Office to ensure it meets the legal requirements
The Trademark Benefits
You can stop others from using similar branding
You can stop copycats who are using similar branding on similar products. This orders them to stop using your trademark asap or theyʼll have to pay damages.
You can't be forced to rebrand
You can rest easy knowing that you own the exclusive right to your brand.
That means you won't receive a cease + desist letter from someone else who filed the trademark for your brand first.
You won't have to stop using it or rebrand.
What is a Copyright?
A copyright is the ownership of your work...aka your artwork, designs, photos, website, book, music, video, or online course.
If you own your copyright, then you are the only one who can use your work. That means you can stop copycats from stealing it. But, if you don't own your copyright, there's not much you can do to stop copycats from taking your work + claiming it as their own.
So you need to copyright your work asap.
How to Copyright Your Work
Start with a copyright review to ensure your application has a good chance of success. You’ll need to make sure it meets the requirements for creativity, publication, work for hire, etc.
Create and file your copyright application.
Your application is reviewed by the Copyright Office to ensure it meets the legal requirements.
The Copyright Benefits
Without a copyright, there's not much you can do to stop competitors from using your work.
If someone copied your work, you can send a cease + desist letter that forces them to stop using the work or face legal action.
A copyright means you're the only one who can sell your work.
If customers want to buy your work, they have to come to you. That means more profits for you and fewer sales lost to copycats.
With a copyright, you can start licensing your work. That means you can partner with other companies to sell your work.
A licensing agreement usually requires that you own a copyright to protect your work and the licensing company's investment.