Basic difference between trademark, copyright and patent

Intellectual property is a vast and complex term. Many a time people are confused or have incorrectly used the terms used in intellectual property law. They have spoken of “copyrighting” an idea or even “patenting” a book! To understand these terms, it is essential to know what is Intellectual Property and what all does it entail.

The WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) defines Intellectual Property as Intellectual property refers to creations of the mind: inventions; literary and artistic works; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.

The terms patent, copyright, and trademark are all used in the context of intellectual property. Although intellectual property or intellectual ideas are created in the human mind, intellectual property does not refer to the ideas. It is how the idea materializes itself and the end result that is protected with a patent, a copyright, or a trademark.

The design of a fuel-efficient car maybe patented but not the idea. The story or the manuscript of a book is copyrighted and not the idea of the book itself. When you start a new company, the logo is trademarked and not the idea of creating a logo.

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Difference between Trademark, Copyright and Patent

Terms used in Intellectual Property and the difference between trademark, copyright and patent

1) Trademark

Who can seek a trademark and what does it protect? Business and product owners file for a trademark. It protects a name, word, slogan, symbol, design, and/or image identifying a business or brand and distinguishing it from others in the same field.

What are the benefits of a trademark and what is the duration? Registering a trademark enhances the rights of a person by providing legal evidence and public notice of ownership. It is proof enough of a nationwide exclusive right to the mark and allows the holder to sue an infringer if the case calls for it. Registered trademarks can use the ® symbol. Though a trademark is valid for an unlimited period of time, it must be renewed every 10 years.

2) Copyright

Who can seek a copyright and what does it protect? Copyright can be sought for by authors, artists, choreographers, architects, and other creative professionals. While an idea cannot be copyrighted, the tangible form of an idea can be. This includes original works of authorship, photographs, sculptures, choreography, architectural works, sound recordings, motion pictures, and other creative works.

What are the benefits of copyright and what is the duration? Copyrighting provides a person with legal evidence and public notice of ownership. A person can be sued in a court for infringement of copyright provided one has the papers in place. A copyright is valid for a lifetime.

3) Patent

Who can seek a patent and what does it protect? Inventors and designers file for patents. A patent protects inventions with a new or improved function. This includes machines, processes, or chemical compositions, or the design for some product.

What are the benefits of a patent and what is the duration? When a patent is filed, the owner gets an exclusive right to prevent others from making, using, selling, or importing the protected invention. A patent protects an invention for 20 years but it cannot be renewed. A provisional patent lasts for about a year.

Each of these is distinct. However, sometimes a product can come into one or more of these categories. An example is a software. The code of the software will be protected by a copyright while the functional expression of the idea will be protected by a patent. The name of the company or the software will come under a trademark!

Protecting an intellectual property is a very complex process that keeps evolving with each step during its life cycle, be it during its innovation, research, or development. Thus, a single product can have a patentable feature, a creative angle protected by copyright, and a source of the product that is trademarked.

This article was also published in Tech in Asia

Protecting your Brand: Trademark Basics for Startups

When you are a startup, there many things to consider such as competition, financing, resources and pricing. However, registering your trademark can remove one such big worry from your mind.

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Protecting your Brand: Trademark Basics for Startups

What is a trademark? A trademark, by definition, is a unique symbol, word or phrase that is registered legally to represent a company, a service or a product. It identifies and distinguishes a company and its products from other competitors.

The benefits of registering a trademark:

Consumers are influenced by brand value and often end up being loyal to one or two names in the market. Here are some reasons why trademarks are so important.

Safety against identity theft: If a company registers under the same name for a trademark as another, then the ownership goes to the one with the trademark. The cost of litigation not only leads you into spending tens of thousands of rupees but also causes a lot of damage to your business image.

Recently, the Bengaluru-based online shopping giant Flipkart filed a case against a “copycat” firm FlipkartDiscounts, for copyright and trademark infringement. FlipkartDiscounts was accused of misleading customers by using a similar name, listing discounts on its site and directing them to various other ecommerce portals such as Flipkart, Snapdeal, Amazon, and Paytm. Flipkart won the battle with the Delhi High Court passing an order, restraining the dubious company from redirecting consumers to other sites.

An effective communication tool: A symbol or logo goes a long way in holding the essence for a business, regardless of the language or country. For example, the Nike “swoosh” design is recognized globally. Easy to identify While out in the market, consumers don’t have a search button to help them find what they want. This is where a trademark comes in handy to pick from a large basket. Internet friendly Today, the world is packed into a Smartphone. What most people enter into search engines are brands, when looking for products or services. More searches and hits effectively translate into more brand value.

A valuable asset: Brand value can grow immensely with time. Trademarks work wonders if you are planning to cross-sell, cross-over, or expand into other industrial sectors. For example, a clothing label can easily appeal to consumers in the accessories market. Employment opportunity For the job hunters, a brand can be a very attractive prospect. It is a positive inspiration for candidates who feel privileged to be associated with a prestigious brand. For example, working at Apple or Google .

How is a trademark registered in India?

Once we know the importance of registering trademarks, the next big question is how is it registered in India. However, before applying for the registration, do your homework, and check the uniqueness of your business name, logo, or anything else you wish to register. There are trademark specialists who can be hired for this purpose.

Also, once the name gets a green signal, it is a good idea to file the trademark application before you actually market it in the public domain. Here is a stepwise guide to the process as per the Trademark Act, 1999.

  • Step 1: File your application with the Registrar of Trademarks. The place of application will correspond to the place of business.
  • Step 2: The application can be filed by the proprietor of the firm, either in his own name or in the name of his business entity.
  • Step 3: The application has to clearly mention the class under which the product or service needs to be classified. Schedule 4 of the Trademark Rules, 2002 provides a classification of goods and services.
  • Step 4: A fee of Rs. 4000, per trademark, has to be paid to the Registrar of Trademarks, only after the registration has been approved. The trademark that needs to be registered must be unique or distinctive minus any blasphemy or obscenity. There should be no reference to a living person without his/her consent or the consent of his representative.

The entire registration process takes 18 to 24 months from the date of application. Once an application for registration is received, it is advertised widely, so as to solicit any conflict or opposition.

If a conflict arises, the applicant is required to defend his trademark within 2 months from the date of receipt of written opposition. In case no opposition is received within 3 months from the date of advertisement, the registrar issues a certificate of registration, approving the trademark.

Brands are of great importance to the image of a company. As a startup, it is worth investing time and money on trademarks when launching a new product into the crowded market, especially with the number of ‘me-too’ businesses increasing.

How to Register Trademark in India

Trademark Registration is the simplest way of getting legal protection for your brand. Branding is like the soul of the business, which helps people identify or connect with your product or service instantly. How to Register a Trademark in India – Trademark Registration is the simplest way of getting legal protection for your brand. Most of the entrepreneurs assume that establishing an entity in the name of the brand would protect the brand from infringement. Whether you are registering your brand in the form of a mark, name, design, logo, symbol, slogan or phrase – A Trademark covers it all. A Trademark is an Intellectual Property Right (IPR) regulated by the Trade Marks Act, 1999. Having a registered trademark can save you at the time of litigation, if you find someone using your brand to benefit their business, fraudulently. Investors also prefer to analyze or conduct a due diligence of the Company’s Intellectual Property before they invest in your enterprise. Getting your Intellectual Property protected shows that you care for your business. VenturEasy can get Your Trademark Registration for just ₹ 3000 + government fees. You can start using ™ in 3 days. Click here to Register your Trademark. How to Register a Trademark in India? Applying for a Trademark is a 3-step procedure- 1. Identifying the Class and Conducting a Trademark Search: Trademark Registration has to be obtained for the particular class or category to which your business activity relates. If your brand represents various business activities, then trademark registration should be obtained separately for all the categories which correspond to your business. The next step after is to conduct a search of whether the trademark you want is available or not. It is recommended that you conduct a thorough online search to ensure that your trademark is not similar to any other existing trademark (whether registered or not). Also, it is advisable to conduct a generalized search across all classes. 2. Executing a Power of Attorney: Trademark Registration should be done through a legal professional as only a trade mark agent or a trade mark attorney is authorized to represent a client before the registration authorities. Hence, this step involves executing a Power of Attorney in favor of a lawyer who shall represent the case on your behalf from time to time. 3. Preparing and Filing the Trademark Application: On execution of the POA, the lawyer shall prepare the application. The application can be made in the name of an individual or any entity. It is then submitted to the Registration Authorities and processed within a day or two. A unique number is generated to track your application status for all future purposes. At this stage, you can use the word “TM” beside your brand name or logo. The trademark is ideally registered in 16-24 months (approx.). It may take a longer period if anyone puts any objection to your trademark. After it is registered, you can use the ® symbol next to your name or logo. If not, you may only use the ™ symbol. Using the ® symbol without having a registered trademark is not allowed. It should be noted that if you are using both a mark/name and a logo for your brand, it is advisable to register it separately through different applications. This will enable you to have exclusive right over both of the name and the logo. However, Trademark Registration gives protection only within the territory of India. If you are intending to go global, it is advisable to secure legal rights over exclusive use of your brand overseas. VenturEasy can get Your Trademark Registration for just ₹ 3000 + government fees. You can start using ™ in 3 days. Click here to Register your Trademark.