Difference Between Patent and Trademark

Patent vs Trademark

The type of work they protect is the basis for the difference between patent and trademark. There were times when original creations and inventions of geniuses were stolen or reproduced by others and those who deserved all the applause and credit had no other choice, but to feel depressed and sulk. However, the situation has undergone a sea of changes over the time. Today, creative people need not be afraid of theft or reproduction of their brilliant ideas or creations as there are legal provisions that are enough to deter others from copying an individual’s brilliance. The terms like copyright, patent, and trademark have become commonplace today. However, despite knowing that these are measures to deter others from copying one’s efforts, there are many who remain confused between provisions and features of patent and trademark. This article attempts to highlight these differences to let people make use of either of the two depending upon their requirements.

If you are an artist or an author, it is copyright that is the protector of any piece of music or text that you have produced. Copyright protects your work from anyone else who might copy or reproduce it. If you get your piece or composition registered under copyright Act 1976, you get sole rights to reproduce your original work publicly without the fear of it being copied by others.

What is Patent?

A patent is granted to an invention that is original and has features that have not been there before. Patent rights are granted for 20 years and are applicable in the country of the patent seeker. A patent is granted by the Patent and Trademark Office, after careful study of the invention. It takes much longer time for approval than it is for copyright or trademarks. Even the fee that is charged for patents is higher than it is for trademarks.

Difference Between Patent and Trademark

Patent of the Telephone

Patents are given in many fields. Even a medical cure (through a drug or a therapy) can be granted a patent, if it can be proved that the cure is original and not used before anywhere else. Patent office charges fee for maintenance of patent rights too.

What is Trademark?

Trademark is something (a logo, a text, sound, a mascot, or an image) that is associated with the products and services of a company. A trademark is helpful in allowing customers to recall about the company when they see or hear this trademark. Who can forget the logo of McDonald’s and KFC and their value for their respective companies in bringing in more customers and generating more sales? If you have a trademark that is really helpful to you, it is advisable to get it registered in the trademark and patent office. This will help you deter others from adopting a similar or deceptively similar logo.

Patent vs Trademark

What is the difference between Patent and Trademark?

• Objectives of Patent and Trademark:

• Patent gives the right to the inventors to stop other people from manufacturing their invention.

• Trademark is a logo, image, text, or even sound that has the power to remind people about the products and services of a company.

• Application:

• Patent is given in the field of inventions and mechanisms that have never been produced before. Even medical cures (drugs and therapies) are considered under patents.

• Trademarks are used by businesses to identify their goods or services.

• Period:

• Patent is granted for a period of 20 years.

• Trademark period is unlimited as long as the company renews it every 10 years.

• Cost:

• The application for a patent carries a higher fee than that for trademark.

• Place of Issue:

• Both, trademark and patent, are given by the Patent and Trademark Office.

• Maintenance Fee:

• For both, patent and trademark, a maintenance fee is charged.

As you can see, patent and trademark are both determined to protect the owner from opportunists who can reap the fruits of the owner’s effort. Both, a patent as well as a trademark, are considered as intellectual property rights of the owner and they can be sold, bought, or mortgaged anytime the owner so wishes. If you have an invention, get a patent for it. That will stop others from making a profit by reproducing your invention. If you have a logo, get a trademark. That will get you the legal coverage for the logo or title that represents your service or product.


Images Courtesy: Telephone patent and McDonald’s logo via Wikicommons (Public Domain)