What’s the Difference Between a Patent, Copyright, and Trademark?

patent, copyright, and trademarkThere are certain terms that businesses need to be familiar with in order to operate properly so there is no legal trouble.  Before forming a business, entrepreneurs need to know the difference between a patent, copyright, and trademark. It can be frustrating to learn the difference as there are many similarities between the three but it is important for every business owner to understand them.

Any custom mobile app development you undertake should evaluate the needs for patent and copyrights to endure two way protection. As much as your product is not infringing on others and no-one is infringing on your rights.

Some elements that can be difficult to identify are mobile video app or custom mobile picture processing. With the explosion in AI and ML into custom software development, this becomes very tricky.






What Is a Patent?

A patent is a legal document that allows you to use and sell the invention described in the document. It gives a business an advantage over competitors because it is the only business or individual who can legally utilize that particular invention for up to 20 years as long as they are willing to pay the fee each year.

It does not take into account what is actually being produced, but rather the idea behind it. So if you would like to produce your own products or get inspiration from someone else’s product, then a patent is necessary to protect yourself against them and prevent any legal issues.

The invention must be unique from that of previous creations and novel. It has to have utility-the ability to work in a practical manner. It also has to be non-obvious. An invention cannot have any other difference that can be seen between it and previous inventions, or else the difference would not be considered novel.

The patent is taken by filing a Provisional Patent Application. If approved, you will pay the patent office fees for the full patent after which you are able to produce and sell your product.



What Is a Copyright?

A copyright is a document that prevents the distribution of a certain work without permission from the original author. It also prevents businesses from taking someone else’s product and making it similar to what they have already created;  this is referred to as plagiarism. A copyright gives an author the right to sue if someone takes  part or whole of a work and produces it themselves.

It also gives the author of the work protection for their work, and this can be in the form of literary works, images, musical pieces or even video games.

A copyright is not only useful to authors but it is also important  to businesses who produce certain products. It shows that you have been creative enough to come up with something new and original.  It also ensures that your product is not being taken by someone else, which could lead to loss of customers or having to pay for use of the work if they do so anyway.

You can file a copyright through a form called the “Form TX”. A registration takes place once it has been approved after which you can sue someone if they use your work and you do not give permission to.



What Is a Trademark?

A trademark is something that you create to represent your company and distinguish it from other companies. It can be a logo, a symbol, or even the name of your business.

Different companies use different trademarks because they want to make their brand unique.

A trademark is important for asserting your business identity and making it recognizable. This is especially true in the case of businesses that are starting out or those which operate online where the product’s packaging is not presented to consumers directly so their logo or product name needs to stand out and show the difference between their business or product and that of competitors.

The difference between copyright and trademark is that the symbol © is used instead of ® or ™. A copyright can protect writings, music, inventions, visual arts, and other works. It only protects the expression of an idea, and not the idea itself. A trademark , on the other hand, is a brand that distinguishes you from your competitors.  It can be used to market certain goods and services, thus allowing customers to distinguish good quality products from those of competitors with similar products.

To obtain a trademark, businesses need to fill out an application called “Form SS-4” which needs to be signed by the applicant and notary public. It also needs to be filed with the USPTO. A trademark application can last for up to 10 years and once approved it cannot be changed within 3 years of filing the application.




Patent, copyright and trademark are each important in their own way. They all serve a different purpose when it comes to protecting your business’s rights or products from being stolen or plagiarized by others.  Businesses have to be creative enough to come up with new ideas and designs that no one else has thought of before. If they are not, they still have to ensure that their products do not look similar to those of competitors or the product produced by others.  The difference between patent, copyright and trademark is how they are used specifically in business practices.


Sunvera Software develops next-level software applications from start-to-finish. We are a premier software and mobile app development agency specializing in healthcare mobile app development, custom mobile app development company, telehealth software, sales dashboards, custom mobile app development services, retail software development, supply-chain software, ecommerce, shopify, web design, iBeacon apps, security solutions and unified access software.

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Schedule a free 30-minute call with us to discuss your business, or you can give us a call at (949) 284-6300.