Patents, Trademarks and Copyrights : An Overview

Intellectual Properties have been able to allure attention of the global market, the three major form of Intellectual Properties Copyrights, Trademarks and Patents have played a major role in all fields of industries such as automotive, music, electronic, food and further more. The proprietors of intellectual properties are eager to protect their inventions, artistic works, brand identity and to yield benefits from the same.

The very basic concept of Intellectual property laws is to give innovator and creators legal rights to protect and benefit from their intangible assets, these laws protect the original creation from using, copying dealing or damaging by any kind of any unauthorized and illegal use. Though all intellectual protection shall be converted into a physical application of the idea.

To know more about how these intellectual property rights are different from each other, we shall first have a glance what does actually each form of Intellectual properties covers;

What is a Patent?

Being one of the most important and complicated form IPR, Patents can be defined as a legal right provided to innovators for their new inventions, it vests an exclusive right to the inventor to protect their inventions and is most essential rights for the same.

In India patents are governed under The Patents Act 1970 and The Patent rules 1970, over the last 5 decades the laws have been amended as per necessitated requirements such as granting protection to goods like food, pharma and chemical inventions.

If one seeks to obtain a patent, one has to make sure that their invention fulfils the minimum requirements as per the laid down laws, which states that an invention muse be new, non-obvious and must have an industrial application.

What is a Copyright?

Copyrights have been eye candies for entertainment and various other industries, the creators using their artistic ideas in the field of literature, drama music, computer programmes and so forth seeks to protect their creation or artistic work from being copied, replicated and distributed unauthorizedly.

The rights that are vested with the creator are to protect the expression of an idea and not the idea itself, the same has been set out in the laws governing copyrights in India which are The Copyrights Act 1957 and The Copyright Act 1958. Further to mention copyrights can be broken in two parts; 1. Economic rights, which let the creators to attract economic benefits for their work, the same are transferrable to a third party through various ways such as broadcasting, assignment, licencing and so forth; 2. Moral rights which are not transferable.

What is Trademark

We have been through the era of globalization, and now seeing the peak of it in the last decade. The market has been flooded by new brands in the race of making an identity for themselves and the existing ones are trying to maintain their identity.

Trademarks can be considered as an essential tool for brands to protect their brand’s goodwill and letting people to differentiate better among goods and services provided by one company to goods and services provided by some other company.

Trademarks can be symbols, words, graphics which usually consists brand names, logos and so forth or a combination. The same has to be unique, non-descriptive and uncommon, the same has be set under the governing law i.e. The Trade marks act 1999 and The Trade marks rules 2018.

Copyright Vs. Trademark Vs. Patent: Know the Difference

When we read about Copyright, Trademarks and Patents, it provides a clear understanding that even though all three of them falls under the brackets of intellectual property but are different from each other in various aspects.

Herein below we talk about general difference between Copy rights, Trademarks and Patents;

1. What’s protected

By this far we have talked about what copyright, trademark and patents are, which gives us a brief idea about what they try to protect and same can be simplified further as;

a) Copyrights – Copyrights aims to protect intellectually created artistic and literary work such as books, coded programmes, songs existing in a tangible medium including hard copies as well as digital copies.

b) Trademarks - Trademarks can be a protected word, phrase, label or a combination of the same. The aim behind granting trademarks was to protect brand identity and make it easier for public to distinguish between similar goods and services on the basis of their originator.

c) Patents- technical innovations, such as fresh, original machine designs that can be used to a variety of industries, mechanical processes, such as complicated machinery, or chemical compositions like pharmaceutical medications are protected under patent, the main motto is to embolden the inventors to protect their own invention from any unauthorized use.

2. Essentials requirements to be protected

a) Copyright: Copyrights can be only procured for creative expressions which are present in a tangible form which can be read, heard of seen. One of the most important essential to obtain a copyright is the originality of work and the same should not have been published before.

b) Trademarks: when we talk about requirements to register a trademark, the same has been put very simply by the existing laws, which states that a mark to be registered must be capable of being represented graphically on paper; capable of distinguish the goods or services of the applicant from others; should not be common and misleading.

c) Patents: the essential requirements for a patent to be registered are quite simple and has been stated very clearly which are novelty, inventive and non-obvious nature and industry application. Whereas while applying for registration one must keep in mind that the said invention doesn’t contradict with section 3 and section 4 of The Patents Act 1970.

3. Term of Protection

a) Copyright: Generally, a copyrights is granted protection to for 60 years, whereas the 60-year period is calculated from the year of death of such author.

b) Trademarks: A trademark is protected for a period of 10 years from the date of application, however the same can be renewed indefinite times as per the procedure laid down in the governing laws.

c) Patents: Patent are protected for a period of 20 years from the date of filing of application.

4. Rights Granted

a) Copyrights: Obtaining a copyright grants you with several protection including right of reproduction, distribution, rental, importation, public performance, broadcasting, communication to public and making available to public, further it gives rights for translation and adaptation of the work and moral rights as well.

b) Trademarks: A registered trademark confers several rights with the registered owner such as right to exclusive use, right to use statutory remedy against infringement, right to assign and right to register correction.

c) Patents: A patent grants the inventor with right to manufacture, use, sell, distribute, assign, licence, surrender, patent addition and right to use statutory remedy against infringement.

5. What’s an example?

a) Copyright: Architectural drawings, plans, buildings, sound recordings, motion pictures, audio-visual works, graphic, pictorial, sculptural works and so forth.

b) Trademarks: any word or representation which fulfils the requirements of trademark can be a registered trademark for example – Cadbury, Nestle, BMW, , and such more.

c) Patents: Patents can be for any invention which has a practical application in the industry like Apple I phones, Combustion engines, Dropbox, Facebook, go pro and so forth.

6. Symbolic representations:

a) Copyright: Copyright symbol or designated copyright symbol is the circled C i.e. “©”, The circled c is used for creative works except sound protection which is represented by a circled P mark i.e. “℗”.

b) Trademark: Trademark symbol or designated trademark symbol are TM – For marks applied for registration but aren’t registered, ’R'-enclosed in a circle or '®' for registered marks and SM for marks brands dealing with services.

c) Patents – there are no typographic symbol representing patents.


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