Trademark vs. Copyright

Revlon O. asked: Can someone tell me the difference between copyright and trademark? I’m so confused. I’ve researched it, but the more I look into the more confused I get.


First of all, this is a GREAT question Revlon! Copyrights and trademarks can certainly be confusing, but they don’t have to be!

Let’s start by defining them.


Copyright – The United States Copyright Office defines a copyright as something that “protects original works including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works.”

Examples: books, audio, products relating to the business

Trademark – The United States Patent and Trademark Office defines a trademark as something that ”protects words, names, symbols, sounds or colors that distinguish goods and services from those manufactured or sold by others and to indicate the source of the goods.”

Example: logos, slogans, name of the business


Both provide legal help for companies trying to keep others from using their name, logo, brand, etc. It covers them financially as well because companies hold the right to sue someone for using their brand without permission.

Your company’s copyright is an asset to your business, so protecting it should be a priority.


The easy way to remember which is which: Think of a copyright as a protection against the artistic elements of your business and a trademark as the protection of your businesses name.

For example, a trademark protects The Beatles’ band name, but a copyright protects the records they’ve produced.

Registering a copyright or trademark is required if a business wants to sue a party for the use of their product. Would you like information on how to register a copyright or trademark? I thought you might!


Registering a Copyright 

  1. File a form
  2. Pay a fee
  3. Send a copy of the work to the United States Copyright Office.

Registering a Trademark

  1. Perform a trademark search to make sure it’s not already in use.
  2. Call an attorney for additional steps. Beyond this point, most experts recommend obtaining legal help from an attorney to finish the steps of registering the trademark.


So, Revlon, you can trademark your business name and copyright things you add to your business. Does that make sense?

Want another easy way to understand it? Here’s a cool video that might help.


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