• FreeAdvice has a new Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, effective May 25, 2018.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our Terms of Service and use of cookies.

Copyright vs. Trademark

Accident - Bankruptcy - Criminal Law / DUI - Business - Consumer - Employment - Family - Immigration - Real Estate - Tax - Traffic - Wills   Please click a topic or scroll down for more.


New at this

Please forgive this very basic question, but, I really don't understand. What is the difference between a copyright and a trademark?

I am asking because I want to begin a new endeavor, with a title that to the best of my knowledge has never before been used. I believe that this would come under the category of 'intellectual property' as this is a series of seminars.

How do I go about this? Any help or links would be greatly appreciated.



A copyright is granted for a unique expression of an idea. For example, Romeo & Juliet and West Side Story are the same basic plot, but are expressed differently, so both get copyrights. Your copyright is violated when someone copies your work or uses it as the basis of their own work unless their use is considered "fair use".

A trademark is like a signature. It's used to identify a product as yours, with your reputation behind it. it can be a unique name (Kodak), a logo, or even a color (Equal/Nutrasweet have TMed the pink & blue colors of the packages). Your TM right is violated when someone produces a product with a mark/name/etc that consumers might confuse with yours. Consumers would then blame you if the product was inferior, damaging your reputation in the business.

If you can, get both CR & TM protection for everything you can -- title, logo, packaging, posters, etc.

This is not legal advice and you are not my client. Double check everything with your own attorney and your state's laws. [email protected]
Tracey -

Thanks for replying to my post. If you could help me a little further, I would greatly appreciate it.

How do I go about applying for a copyright? Are there forms I can fill out/file myself? I really don't have the money at this point to hire an attorney to do this for me, as my venture is in the begining stages.

By the way, I live in IL if that matters

Find the Right Lawyer for Your Legal Issue!

Fast, Free, and Confidential