Wednesday, 20 May 2015

The Differences Between Trademark and Copyright

We all know the terms trademark and copyright; after all, they appear on just about every product we buy, or on marketing materials for almost any service we use. But how many of us actually know the difference between the two? Or that there even are differences? As someone who specialises in the area of trademarks, Glenn Duker, solicitor, can explain.

What is a trademark?

A trademark is used to identify or represent a product or service offered by one business in a distinguishable way from a similar one offered by a competitor. The trademark can be anything from a name, logo or slogan, through to a distinctive colour or smell that consumers typically associate with the brand. Trademarks are applied for and registered through IP Australia, a national government body, and are not recognised officially or legally unless they are registered. A trademark can be owned indefinitely, as long as the registration is renewed every ten years.

What is a copyright? 

Like trademarks, copyright deals with the ownership of intellectual property. However it tends to be more for original ‘works’ that typically fall within the realm of the creative such as books, photographs, music compositions and plays. Unlike trademarks, copyright is automatically applied to the owner’s work and they don’t need to register it. People seeking to use another person’s copyrighted material should seek permission first to avoid infringement and the risk of hefty fines. Copyright typically lasts a lot longer than trademark ownership; for example, ownership rights on all works produced after January 2005 last the entire lifetime of their creator plus an additional 70 years.

Hope this clears things up for readers. If you need assistance in registering a trademark or arguing copyright infringement, get in touch with solicitor Glenn Duker today. 

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