What is the difference between copyright and trade marks?

Many people come to us looking for an explanation as to the difference between copyright and trade marks and therefore help understanding which type of intellectual property is for you.

Copyright is a form of intellectual property which protected the expression of an idea. This expression can be in the form of a literary, musical, dramatic or artistic work. Copyright protection arises automatically once the work is created and doesn’t require registration. In the UK, the law concerning copyright is set out in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (“CDPA”).
Copyright recognises the skill and labour and the “creative stamp” expended by an author in creating a work. Copyright is, essentially, a right to copy a work (the owner may also restrict acts other than copying).

Copyright arises automatically on creation, provided that a work is original. This requires that skill, labour and judgment have gone into the work’s creation. The subject matter must be expressed in a permanent form such as in writing, in a film, in a broadcast, on a computer or as a recording. Therefore, in order to infringe someone’s copyright protection, the expression needs to be copied.

On the flip side, trade marks are a registered right and are there to protect a brand name, logo, slogan or product name. A trade mark protects a person or business’s brand and allow the owner to prevent any other person from using the same or similar word/logo in respect of the same or similar goods and services. A successful trade mark application must be registered in the country in which you wish to use the mark to be able to claim the protection of a registered trade mark. As the owner of the trade mark, you can grant other’s the right to use the brand name and have complete control over it.

If you need any further assistance as to establishing the IP protection for you, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the team.

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