Difference Between Copyright and Trademark in India

  • Setindiabiz Team
  • June 19, 2023
What is the difference between copyright and trademark India
Intellectual property (IP) is crucial for creators and businesses to safeguard their ideas and investments. Two common forms of IPR are trademarks and copyrights. While they share some similarities, the main difference between copyright and trademark is that copyright protects original works of authorship, while trademark protects words, phrases, symbols, and designs that identify and distinguish goods and services in the marketplace.
In India, understanding the differences between copyright and trademark is crucial for protecting intellectual property against misuse and infringement. In this blog post, we’ll explore the key differences between these two forms of IPR in India.

What is a Trademark?

A trademark is a form of intellectual property that is used to distinguish the unique identity marks of individuals and business entities. It can take many forms, including words, names, symbols, logos, labels, taglines, slogans and even peculiar sounds or smells. A trademark serves as a unique identifier for its owner, individual or business alike, helping it to build its own brand and establish an unmatchable reputation in the marketplace.
For example, the famous “swoosh” logo of Nike (a curved line resembling a checkmark) is a trademark that identifies and distinguishes its products from those of other similar brands and businesses.
Similarly, the golden arches of McDonald’s (an ‘M’ formed by two arched lines) and the three-pointed star of Mercedes-Benz (a star with three points inside a circle) are also trademarks that help to identify and distinguish their products or services.
In addition to logos and symbols, trademarks can also include brand names, such as Coca-Cola or Pepsi, and slogans, such as “Just Do It” for Nike. These marks are protected under the law, and the owners of the mark can take legal action against anyone who uses them without permission.In India, trademarks are governed and protected under the Trademark Act of 1999.

Purpose of a Trademark

A trademark is a powerful tool for individuals and businesses, providing a unique identifier for their properties, products and services, thereby helping them build a recognizable brand in the market. But besides serving this symbolic purpose, a trademark has a number of practical functions too! In this section, we’ll explore all the key purposes of a trademark in great depth and detail.
  1. Identification: A trademark serves as a unique identifier for the brand and identity of a business. By using a distinctive mark, a business can establish a recognizable brand and distinguish its products or services from those of its competitors in the market.
  2. Protection: A registered trademark provides legal protection against theft, misuse, and infringement, enabling businesses to take legal actions against anyone who uses a similar or identical mark without permission. This protection helps to prevent others from capitalizing on a business’s reputation and goodwill.
  3. Reputation: A trademark can help build a positive reputation for businesses by signaling quality and reliability to consumers. When consumers see a well-known trademark, they know what to expect from the products or services associated with it.
  4. Marketing: A strong trademark can be a powerful marketing tool, helping to attract customers and build brand loyalty. A memorable, distinctive mark can stick in a consumer’s mind and influence their purchasing decisions.
  5. Business value: A trademark can add significant value to a business, as it is a unique asset that can be bought, sold, or licensed to others. By establishing a strong brand and protecting it through a trademark, a business can increase its overall value and marketability as well.

What is Copyright?

Copyright is a legal concept that provides creators with exclusive rights over their original works of authorship. These may include literary, artistic, musical, cinematographic and a range of other kinds of creative works. Copyright gives creators the exclusive right to control the reproduction, distribution, sale and display of their works, as well as the right to create derivative works based on their original creations.

Examples of works that can be protected by copyright include:

  • Literary works such as books, articles, and poems
  • Artistic works such as paintings, drawings, and photographs
  • Musical works such as songs and compositions
  • Cinematographic works such as movies and videos
  • Software and computer program codes
  • Blueprints of Architectural works
In India, copyright protection is governed and protected under the Copyright Act of 1957, which outlines the rights and obligations of creators, publishers, and users of copyrighted works. Copyright protection in India begins as soon as the work of art / literature is created and fixed in a tangible form, and typically lasts for the lifetime of the creator, and sometimes even up to 60 years after his death. The main objective behind copyright protection in India is to encourage creativity and innovation by rewarding creators for their efforts.

Purpose of Copyright

The purpose of copyright goes beyond protecting the ownership rights of creators. It serves to promote creativity, innovation, and cultural development in the society while also providing economic benefits to the individual creators. In this section, we will explore the various purposes of copyright and how they contribute to the overall protection and promotion of creative works.
  • Encouraging creativity and innovation: Copyright laws in India, governed by the Copyright Act, provides creators with the incentive to create new works by offering them exclusive rights to control the use of their works for a limited yet long period of time. This encourages creativity and innovation, as creators are able to profit from their efforts and invest in future projects a well.
  • Protecting the economic interests of creators: Copyright protection enables creators to control how their works get used and allow them to receive compensation for it. This helps to ensure that creators are able to earn a living from their creative works and that they are able to continue to produce new works from time to time.
  • Promoting cultural development: Copyright protection helps to promote cultural heritage by preserving traditional cultural expressions and folklore. This ensures that cultural works are not exploited or appropriated by others without the consent of the communities from which they originate.
  • Protecting the integrity of creative works: Copyright protection enables creators to take legal actions against infringement from third parties, thus preventing others from making changes or alterations to their original works which might damage their reputation or artistic integrity in the market.
  • Encouraging the dissemination of knowledge: Copyright law promotes the dissemination of new knowledge and information among the public, without harming the personal interests of the creator in any manner. By striking a balance between the interests of creators and the interests of the public, copyright law helps to ensure that both can benefit from the exchange of ideas and information.

Difference Between Copyright and Trademark

Both trademarks and copyrights are forms of intellectual property rights that offer legal protection to creators and owners of original works. However, while both forms of protection may seem similar, there are certain key differences that set them apart. The main difference between copyright and trademark is that copyright protects original works of authorship such as books, movies, music, and software, while trademarks protect distinctive signs, symbols, and logos that identify and distinguish goods and services in the marketplace. In the following section, we will explore some of the key parameters of difference between copyright and trademark.

Copyright Vs Trademark Difference Table

Parameters of Difference Trademarks Copyrights
Used to identify and distinguish the properties and products of one entity from those of the others.
Protects original works of authorship of a creator.
Type of Property
Protects unique and distinguishable marks of identity like words, names, symbols, sounds, or colors
Protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, cinematographic and artistic works
Legal Basis
Governed by Trademark Act, 1999 in India
Governed by Copyright Act, 1957 in India
Trademarks must be registered with the Trademark Registry for protection under the law
Copyrights are automatically granted upon the creation of the original work and saving it in a tangible form. Copyright Registration merely gives additional rights to the creator.
Duration of Protection
Trademarks can be protected indefinitely as long as they are being used and renewed periodically
Copyrights are protected for the lifetime of the creator and sometimes an additional 60 years after his death
Trademarks are owned by the company or individual who uses them in commerce
Copyrights are owned by the author or creator of the original work
Infringement occurs when someone uses a mark in a way that it seems similar with the original trademark of the owner without permission or compensation
Infringement occurs when someone uses or reproduces the original work of the creator without permission or compensation
Remedies for infringement include injunctions, damages, and account of profits
Remedies for infringement include injunctions, damages, and account of profits
Fair Use
Fair use of trademarks is limited to descriptive or comparative uses in good faith
Fair use of copyrighted material may be allowed for educational, research, or commentary purposes
International Protection
Trademarks must be registered in each country where its protection is desired
Copyrights are protected under international treaties and conventions, such as the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works

In conclusion, both trademarks and copyrights play crucial roles in protecting the intellectual property rights of creators, inventors, and businesses. While trademarks help protect brand identity and logos, copyrights protect original creative works. Both types of protection provide exclusive rights to their respective owners for a limited period of time, enabling them to reap economic benefits from their works while also encouraging creativity and innovation. By understanding the differences between trademarks and copyrights, individuals and businesses can better protect their intellectual property and safeguard their interests in the modern era of technology and creativity.


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