Difference Between Copyright and Patent (With Table)

People often confuse the terms “copyright” and “patent” when talking about the laws which protect an individual’s innovation. These two terms are often used interchangeably but are governed by two completely different laws under the same umbrella.

Copyright vs Patent

difference between copyright and patent is that copyright has guidelines on how the work can be regenerated. In contrast, the patent makes the work “patented” and stops other people from using it in any form whatsoever. The “copyright” and “patent” laws come under intellectual property laws. The laws have different but almost the same definitions and durations respective to each country.

The main reason for the confusion arises from the common root to which both the terms “copyright” and “patent” belong to- intellectual property. Intellectual property is any work that is unique enough to be protected by the law.

Comparison Table Between Copyright and Patent

定義Copyright laws protect the idea or expression of the work, such as any artists’ work.Patent laws protect innovation.
間隔Copyright laws last for up to 50 or 70 years after the death of the original author of the “copyrighted” work. At the end of copyright protection, the work is in the public domain and can be used in any form by anyone without any permission or fee.Patent laws usually last up to 20 years, but the duration is subject to the patent issued in the respective country. After the lapse of the duration of the patent, anybody can copy the patent.
使用法Copyright laws protect the expression of ideas. This can be in any form, such as computer programs, music composition, and literature, to name a few.Patent laws provide a market monopoly for the invention while also protecting the idea of driving it.
保護Special innovations, discoveries, recorded or written work, paintings, designs, and other ideas or creations.Various big and small processes of agriculture, medicine, and chemical industries, to name a few.

What is Copyright?

Copyright laws are used to protect the expression of ideas, usually of artists like book authors, painters, chefs, etc. The protection of the expression is specified in the guidelines.

Guidelines need to be taken into account while copying a substantial part of the original work and publishing it. Copyright laws do not protect the process involved in the making of the copyrighted work.

Copyright laws have moral and economic rights. Economic rights are the rights to copy the work or publish a substantial part of the work.

Moral rights talk about how does the adapted work from the copyrighted work does justice to the original copyright. It also consists of the moral right to be listed as an author for the adapted work.

Fair use is an exclusion of the rights provided by the copyright. In this, people can copy a very small amount of work to cite in research or review reports.

Cookbooks are a great example to establish clear differences between the idea and expression of an idea. A Cookbook is an expression of ideas (expression of recipes), and they cannot be reprinted.

People follow the recipes and mimic the expression of ideas contained in the cookbook. If the recipes were patented, people could not replicate the recipes without prior authorization of the patent owner.

What is Patent?

Patent laws are stricter when it comes to the protection of ideas. Patent laws stop the usage of the idea in any form. It cannot be regenerated based on the same idea behind the already existing patent.

This stops the patent from any infringement and also secures the monopoly for the idea in the global economic market.

Patents can be used by other people under the Patent License. Under this license, anyone who wishes to use the patent must pay money to the owner of the patent.

Patents usually cover technical processes or products which are considered unexampled. Patents cover most industries like electronics, transport, medicine, and agriculture. Anything can be patented from a small nut to an entire powerhouse.

To patent any invention it should satisfy the following:

  1. It must be new, original, and not very obvious.
  2. An innovative step must be there.
  3. It must be useful for application in any industry.

主な違い Copyright and Patent

  1. 著作権法は、文学、演劇、音楽、およびその他の同様の芸術作品を保護しますが、特許法は発明の保護に重点を置いています。
  2. 著作権は作成時に発生するため、登録する必要はありません。特許は、それを管理する法律によって保護される前に、国内または国際的な特許機関によって登録される必要があります。
  3. アイデアの実践は、特許の主な目的です。一方、著作権の目的に焦点を当てているのはアイデアの表現です。
  4. 著作権は、オリジナル作品の作成者に与えられる特別な権利であり、作品のパフォーマンスと制作を却下します。特許は、一定期間、発明の製造と取引を停止するために政府によって与えられる法的助成金です。
  5. 著作権は通常、著作権の元の作成者が亡くなってから50〜70年間付与されます。ただし、著者が20年間有効な特許。


Copyright and patent are both legal concepts under intellectual property laws. Copyrights honor the expression of the idea, whereas patents focus on the idea.

The patent defines the exclusive right of authority to the creator of a unique creation. The patent creates a massive economic monopoly for the product created from the idea.

It also bars the manufacture, trade, and invention by other people for a fixed duration of time. If anyone copies the patent, then the creator can sue them in court and get them to stop using the patent.

Copyrights protect the rights and intellectual interests of the creator of the work. Therefore copyright provides the security of proprietorship and honors creativity.

Work can only be copied with prior permission from the owner; otherwise, the owner can sue for the amount which was to be paid.


  1. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Robert_Merges/publication/228134478_The_Proper_Scope_of_the_Copyright_and_Patent_Power/links/542c3b740cf277d58e8c5173/The-Proper-Scope-of-the-Copyright-and-Patent-Power.pdf
  2. https://jolt.law.harvard.edu/assets/articlePDFs/v05/05HarvJLTech145.pdf
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