Intellectual property comes in many forms. If you’ve ever had a mental creation that’s spectacular, you understand it’s going to add value to your business. That’s when you need to know more about a trademark vs copyright.

Many people don’t know the differences between a trademark vs. copyright. Both trademarks and copyrights can be bought or sold because each has value. The problem comes when you’re trying to figure out which one you should use for your spectacular mental creation.

Read on if you want to learn more about trademark vs. copyright and how you can use them for your best advantage.


Trademark vs. Copyright

Your spectacular mental creation already convinced you to form a corporation. You’ve already decided if your corporation is going to be an LLC or an Inc or something in-between. Now you need to figure out if trademark or copyright is the best way to protect your intellectual property.


Trademark Definition

In 1946 Congress decided trademarks were needed for corporate protection purposes. Congress intended to protect both the company and consumers when new commercial interests were created. The trademark was born to protect the names, symbols, sounds, colors and more in an attempt to let consumers know the source of the commercial goods.

You recognize trademarks today every time you go shopping and see the name of a commercial good your recognize like Nike or Starbucks. The trademark serves as the brand of a company or product. But to register your trademark you must first find a name that’s not already in use.


Copyright Definition

Entrepreneurs and ventures needed a support network that helped them deal with everything from copyrighting their work to finding the funding to help it succeed. When a company seeks intellectual protection for their artistic designs, books, videos and more then they need to copyright their work. Whatever is being copyrighted must be put into a viable format, and can communicate.

If your creative property or idea can’t be communicated you do not need copyright protection because no one can receive or find a tangible form of your work. The definition of communication for copyright purposes means others can find it to see, hear, or touch. Almost all books, articles, artwork, sculptures, plays, movies, etc. are creative, artistic, and copyrighted.


Trademark Pros

There are clear and present pros to getting a trademark. They include, but aren’t limited to, the following:

  1. You’re able to protect your name, creating a unique brand. If you find someone is using one of your trademarks, once you prove it’s registered to you, whoever stole the trademark can be criminally charged. If they used your trademark online, their account could be suspended.
  2. By getting a trademark, you get a headstart on creating a brand image. Some people are loyal to brands they like, and any positive customer experience enhances your reputation.
  3. Trademarks add value to your business if you ever want to sell or move on from what you created. Potential buyers know your trademark already has a loyal following.
  4. There’s such a thing as cybersquatting, which is when you have a registered trademark, and some else uses your trademark name or a very similar name and creates a domain with it. You have the legal right to have the company shut down by contacting the hosting company of the domain.

Trademarks are also fairly inexpensive to register. There are also clear trademark disadvantages, and some of them are listed below.


Trademark Cons

The disadvantages of having a trademark for your intellectual property include, but aren’t limited to:

  1. Government speaks its own language, and there’s nothing more time-consuming than dealing with government agency forms and their required paperwork. So if you don’t have a lot of time, prepare to hire someone who can help you with registering your trademark and dealing with its bureaucratic process.
  2. You may have done all the research in the world and found no one was using the trademark name you want to register. Out of nowhere someone may dispute your ownership of the trademark and challenge you in court. There’s no way to get out of that except by hiring an attorney to help you keep your trademark name.

Because it’s so easy to register, many people consider the trademark registration the easier of the two.


Copyright Pros

There are clear and present positives for getting copyrighted. They include, but aren’t limited to the following:

  1. Instant protection is provided by copyrighting your intellectual property. Once you have a copyright and are registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, you can seek a court injunction that prevents someone from using your copyrighted material.
  2. A cease and desist is sent to the offending party who is using your copyrighted work, and the action can be done quickly.
  3. The protection you receive when you copyright your work gives you immediate limited protection as long as your work is in a fixed format.

Companies don’t have to register their work with the U.S. Copyright Office to claim ownership of pieces they’re using after their initial instant protection copyright registration.


Copyright Cons

Companies have the passive ability to keep using their limited protection copyright of workpieces.

  1. But if companies want punitive damages for any infringements that occur, they have to receive a legal injunction to halt the infringement.
  2. Companies and owners of copyright work also have to pay registration fees that range from $35 to over $200. If you’re doing that for each of your works, it can be time-consuming and expensive.

You can’t copyright things like slogans, phrases, titles, symbols, processes, concepts, or any common property.


The Clear Differences Between Trademark vs. Copyright

While you can’t copyright things like slogans, phrases, titles, symbols, and more you may be able to trademark them. Titles, names, short phrases, slogans, and logos can all be trademarked. The clear difference between trademark vs. copyright is they protect very different types of assets.

Copyright leans towards literary and artistic works, and trademark leans toward items that define and brand companies. When you want to bring your spectacular copyright or trademark to life, reach out to Strategic Capital. They don’t just only believe in your bold and brilliant brand or work; we’ll help give you the financial tools you need to bring it to life.

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Strategic Capital | Headquartered in Kansas City, Strategic Capital has deployed over $220 Million to over 4,000 entrepreneurs to help them grow their businesses and achieve their dreams.