Difference Between Copyright and Trademark

With the emergence of digitalisation, it is extremely likely that new innovations will be robbed without direct authorization from any third party.

In the developed world, IPR is a significant force in global exchange as well as in the indigenous trade of each country.

Since the emergence of digitisation, there are strong incentives for third-party theft of artistic innovations without proper consent.

Two significant types of Intellectual properties are Copyright & Trademark.They are tricky to understand and often confused ones.

Copyright vs Trademark

The main difference between Copyright and Trademark is that Literary, artistic, dramatic, musical and dramatic works which are the original works of authors covered by copyright and patents shall refer to trade names, phrases, and graphical representations, shapes of goods and logos of a commercial nature.

Copyright vs Trademark

Copyright is the exclusive right granted to the author of an artistic work to replicate the work, typically for a specific period of time, while in the case of Trademark, the owner can be a person, a business organization, other legal body etc.


Comparison Table Between Copyright and Trademark (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonCopyrightTrademark
Act-LawThe Copyright Act,1957The Trade Marks Act, 1999
Relevant SectionSection 14Section 2(1)(zb)
MeaningCopyright enables the exclusive right to do or permit someone else to do such actions in relation to (1) original, literature, theatrical, musical and artistic plays, (2) cinematographic film (3) sound recordings.A trademark is a conspicuous emblem in the form of a term, phrase, a product, or a label attached to articles of commerce in order to signify to the public that they are goods manufactured or otherwise dealt by a certain entity as distinct from identical goods produced or exchanged by other persons.
Administered byWIPO(World Intellectual Property Organisation)WIPO(World Intellectual Property Organisation)
Duration(India)The life of the author or artist, with sixty years counted from the year after the death of the author.The registration period of a trade mark shall be ten years, which may be extended for a further term of ten years following payments of the specified renewal fees.
ExampleBooks, albums, screenplays, drawings, copyrights also include protection of computer software and programs.Brand names like Apple, McDonald’s, Product names like iPod, Company logos like the golden arches at McDonald’s Slogans like Capital One’s “What’s in your wallet?”


What is Copyright?

Copyright is a form of intellectual property which, due to the rapid technological advances in the areas of publishing, music, communication, entertainment and the computer sector, has been growing in recent times.

Copyright seeks to enable writers, composers, artists and designers to create original works by encouraging them by giving them unique right for a specific duration of time to use the work for business gains and by licensing the work.

Almost all of the world’s countries are members of at least one of the two Conventions-the Berne Convention and the Universal Convention of Copyright, and India is members of both conventions and protects Indians copyright.

Subject Matter of Copyright:Works in which copyrights subsists-Section 13

Copyrights subsists only in certain classes of works-

  1. Original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works
  2. Cinematographic films
  3. Sound Recordings

Sections 22-29: deals with duration of copyrights.

It states irrespective of the nature of the author (i.e.: Natural or Artificial person) or the work is anonymous when it is published during the life time of the author it subsists for the life time of the author plus sixty years after his death.

When the work is done by co-authors the 60 years span will start on the death of the last author. In anonymous publications it will be 60 years from the date of publication and if the identity of the author is revealed 60 years start from the year of death of the author.


What is Trademark?

A trademark is a recognizable image, phrase, word or logo representing and legally identifying a particular item from all other products of its kind.

The exclusive trademark acknowledges the brand’s ownership and acknowledges only the product as belonging to a specific entity.

 When licensed, no other company can use the same symbol or set of terms for ever as long as it is in use and proper paperwork and fees are charged for it.

The Trademarks Registry has been established for the purposes of the registration of trademarks, the management of the register and related matters and the procedure for registration of trademarks is mentioned in sections 18 to 24 of the 1999 act.

Duration of a Trademark is dealt under section 25 and 26- If the application for registration after its advertisement is unopposedly decided in favor of the registration the mark will be registered as of the date of application for registration and 1st registration period is for 10 years after that it has to be renewed from time to time paying the requisite fee.


Main Differences Between Copyright and Trademark

  1. Copyright seeks to protect the literary, artistic, dramatic work of the writers while Trademark seeks to protect items which describe the brand of a product and its identity.
  2. Right arising out of Copyrights protects from reproducing the original works and derivatives in Trademark right to use the mark and preventing others from using it.
  3. Duration is 60 years after the life time of the author in copyright and 10 years in Trademarks which can be renewed from time to time.
  4. Copyright application and others are controlled by the Copyright Office;Trademark application is controlled by the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks.
Difference Between Copyright and Trademark



Both Trademark and copyright are noteworthy in their own ways because they aim to protect the work and knowledge and skills contributed to the work of the creator.

This is because any individual can easily exploit the reputation of a business that has worked hard for a product that can easily be drifted away by putting a similar product on the market.

This causes uncertainty among consumers.Only with the aid of this law are remedies and corrective measures these can be regulated.

Key Differences Between Copyright and Trademark (PDF Format)

Download the key differences in .PDF format, to read or print them later:

Difference Between Copyright and Trademark



  1. https://heinonline.org/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/conlr41&section=27
  2. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=887484
  3. https://digitalcommons.law.buffalo.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1045&context=journal_articles
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