IndiaFilings » Learn » Trademark vs. Copyright: Key Differences in Protection

Trademark vs. Copyright: Key Differences in Protection

Trademark vs. Copyright Key Differences in Protection

Trademark vs. Copyright: Key Differences in Protection

In India, trademarks and copyrights are categorized as forms of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) that grant exclusive usage rights to their owners for a limited duration. While trademarks protect a company’s goods or services, copyrights protect original creative works, such as videography, photography, and literary works. The distinctions in the scope of trademarks and copyrights make it crucial for individuals and entities aiming to register their intellectual property to understand these differences precisely. They can effectively safeguard and assert their rights over their respective intellectual creations or products by obtaining the appropriate registration.

The Secret Weapons for Business Success: Trademarks and Copyright Registration

In the bustling marketplace, where competition is fierce, and consumer attention is scarce, one invaluable asset often goes unnoticed by many business owners – their brand name: the essence and goodwill of their business hinge upon this vital element. As consumers become increasingly brand-conscious, trademarks and copyright have become powerful influencers in purchasing decisions.

In this era of heightened brand awareness, grasping the significance of trademarks and copyright is imperative for businesses, startups, and creative individuals. Understanding and harnessing the potential of these legal protections can be the key to unlocking business growth and safeguarding original creations for profitable endeavors.

What is Trademark?

A trademark is a distinctive word, logo, or visual symbol that businesses use to distinguish their goods or services from competitors offering similar products. It is a recognizable identifier of a particular brand and is registered to protect various elements like brand names, slogans, and business names. An applicant must file a trademark application with the Registrar of Trademarks to obtain trademark protection.

The Importance of Trademark Symbols

The trademark symbol, denoted by ™ Ⓡ, or ⓒ, plays a crucial role in representing the status of a trademark.

  • The ™ symbol signifies an unregistered trademark, indicating that the brand asserts its rights over the mark without formal registration.
  • On the other hand, the Ⓡ symbol indicates a registered trademark, demonstrating that the mark has undergone the official registration process and enjoys legal protection.
  • The ⓒ symbol, conversely, signifies copyright protection, which safeguards original creative works but is distinct from trademarks.

The primary purpose of trademarks

The primary purpose of trademarks is to protect consumers from confusion when choosing similar products in the market. By using a trademark, a brand ensures its authenticity and preserves its distinctiveness in the market. Moreover, trademark law allows owners to prevent others from unauthorized usage of their trademarks for products or services, thereby safeguarding their brand’s reputation and market presence.

What are the various types of Trademarks you can opt for various products?

What is Copyright and Its Scope?

Copyright is a legal right granted to the creators of various artistic and creative works, including musical compositions, literary writings, artistic creations, and dramatic productions. It also extends to the producers of sound recordings and cinematograph films. This intellectual property right safeguards the originality and creativity of individuals engaged in various creative fields, such as artists, writers, designers, dramatists, architects, musicians, and producers of sound recordings, cinematograph films, and computer software.

Copyright Ownership and Rights

The primary purpose of copyright is to protect the exclusive rights of the creators over their original works. This means that nobody else can reproduce, copy, or use the content created by the copyright holder without obtaining explicit permission. After registering their copyright, the copyright owner can control various aspects of their intellectual work, such as publishing, printing, copying, and marketing.

Any unauthorized reproduction or copying of these protected works is considered an infringement of copyright, subject to legal consequences.

Key Differences between a trademark and a copyright

Here are the differences between a trademark and a copyright

Governing Act

Trademarks are governed by the Trade Marks Act of 1999, while copyrights are governed by the Copyright Act of 1957.

Registering Authority

Trademarks are examined and registered by the Controller General of Patents, Designs, and Trademarks, whereas copyrights are examined and registered by the Copyright Office.


Anyone, whether an individual or a business, can apply for a trademark registration to protect logos, symbols, or slogans used for goods and services. For copyrights, authors of original works, such as books, music, art, photography, films, and software, can apply for registration.

To know more about Who is eligible for Trademark? Click here.


What does a trademark protect?

A trademark is an essential form of intellectual property protection that focuses on preserving distinctive elements that set a particular brand or source of goods apart from others in the market.

A trademark protects various elements, including:

  • Brand names
  • Logos
  • Business names
  • Slogans

What does a copyright protect

On the other hand, copyrights protect original creative expressions, such as literary, artistic, and dramatic works. Some of the specific works that copyright protects are:

  • Poetry
  • Novels
  • Various forms of original writing
  • Artistic creations
  • Research materials
  • Movies
  • Songs
  • Other forms of audio and video materials
  • Computer software
  • Architectural designs
  • As long as the original work is tangible, it is granted copyright protection upon its creation. However, works that do not have a tangible form, like an unrecorded speech, cannot be copyrighted.

It’s essential to note that specific works cannot be copyrighted, including:

  • Ideas
  • Discoveries
  • Principles
  • Lists of ingredients or contents (though a recipe or set of instructions may be copyrighted)
  • Works considered “common property,” such as calendars or height and weight charts.


Trademarks identify the source of a product or service and help establish brand recognition. Copyrights apply to original creations in literature, drama, and art, ensuring the rights of the creators over their work.


Trademarks ensure the uniqueness and exclusivity of products or services and help consumers identify the quality and origin of goods. Copyrights protect the interests of creators and grant them exclusive rights to use and distribute their creative works.

Advantages of Trademarks and Copyrights

Trademarks and copyrights offer distinct benefits that contribute to the success and protection of businesses and creators.

Trademarks: Building Trust and Brand Recognition

Trademarks prevent competitors from using similar marks or texts in their branding. By securing a trademark, businesses can establish a strong brand identity and build customer trust. The recognizable trademark distinguishes their products or services from others in the market, fostering brand loyalty and ensuring that customers can confidently associate the mark with a certain level of quality and reliability.

Copyrights: Safeguarding Creative Works

Copyrights provide essential protection for creative individuals or entities. With a copyright, the creator gains exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute, and sell their work. This protection prevents others’ unauthorized use or duplication of the original work, ensuring that the creator retains control over how their creation is utilized. With copyright protection, creators can monetize their work and explore various avenues for financial gains, whether through traditional means or in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

Securing Exclusivity

Trademarks and copyrights offer valuable exclusivity but differ in how they provide and maintain it.

Trademarks grant exclusivity not only to the product or services but also to the brand identity. By registering a trademark, a business can protect its unique branding elements, such as logos, names, and slogans, ensuring that competitors cannot use similar identifiers that might confuse customers.

On the other hand, copyright allows creators to maintain exclusivity over their original works, whether literary, artistic, musical, or other forms of creative expression. With copyright protection, creators can reproduce, distribute, and profit from their work, allowing them to leverage their creations for financial gains.


Trademarks and copyrights play distinct roles in recognizing and distinguishing different aspects of intellectual property.

With trademarks, customers experience a sense of connection and belongingness to a particular product or service. Brands become easily recognizable, and customers can make assumptions about the quality of the offering based on the brand’s established reputation and value.

On the other hand, copyrights focus on acknowledging the originality and uniqueness of creative works. Copyright protection ensures that the creative efforts of individuals or entities are recognized and respected, preventing unauthorized use or duplication of their work.


Regarding the duration of protection, trademarks and copyrights follow different timelines. A registered trademark has ten-year validity and can be renewed indefinitely to shield it from potential infringers.

On the other hand, copyrights boast a longer span of protection. For individual owners, the copyright lasts the author’s lifetime and an additional 60 years in India. For non-individual owners, such as organizations or companies, the copyright endures up to 60 years from publication. This extended protection ensures that creators and their works are safeguarded for an extended period.


Owners have complete ownership over their registered marks, ensuring the exclusivity of their goods or services. Copyrights grant authors exclusive rights to use their works for financial gain.

Symbolic Representation

During the trademark registration process, the term ™ is used, while the Ⓡ symbol is used once registration is obtained. For copyright registration, the © symbol is used to indicate protection.


Registering trademarks and copyrights plays a crucial role when safeguarding your business assets. For the coveted ® trademark symbol, formal registration is mandatory. On the other hand, using the © symbol for copyright protection is not compulsory, but registering your work adds a layer of proof for its originality and ownership.

IndiaFilings: Your Partner in Trademark and Copyright Registration

IndiaFilings can assist in obtaining both Trademark Registration and Copyright Registration in India. We offer professional services to guide individuals and businesses through registration, ensuring their intellectual property rights are adequately protected.

For Trademark Registration, IndiaFilings can help prepare and file the necessary application with the Controller General of Patents, Designs, and Trademarks. We will assist in conducting a trademark search to ensure that the proposed mark is unique and not already used by others. Once the registration is obtained, IndiaFilings can also help monitor and protect your brand against potential infringements.

Similarly, for Copyright Registration, IndiaFilings can assist authors, artists, musicians, photographers, filmmakers, and software developers register their original creative works with the Copyright Office. We will help prepare the application and necessary documentation to ensure the copyright is registered correctly, providing legal protection for the creator’s intellectual property.