What’s the Difference Between a Trademark, Copyright, and Patent?
Intellectual property law enables an inventor or a business to register and protect an invention or a brand name from unauthorized use. The owner then has the right to allow others to use that property in exchange for a licensing fee. Intellectual property falls into three general categories: trademarks, copyrights, and patents.
A trademark is a brand name or logo that differentiates one company’s product from that of a competitor. The symbol TM is used until formal registration is completed and then the symbol R may be used. A copyright is used to protect music, literature, and other works of art from unauthorized reproduction and generally lasts for the lifetime of the author plus 70 years. A patent protects an invention or an industrial process for 20 years in most cases.