One of the most common sources of confusion among people seeking legal protection for their intellectual property (“IP”) is the difference between trademark and copyright. Although both are types of registered IP protection, they actually protect different elements and types of objects, and knowing which protection to seek can help you determine which you may need in a particular context.
The distinctions between copyrights, patents, and trademarks is often confusing and misunderstood, even by business people that regularly deal with intellectual property. Here we will provide an explanation on the basis for copyright protection, what can be protected under U.S. Copyright laws, and the benefits of registering your work with the U.S. Copyright Office.
This is a reprint of an article co-authored by Barry M. Benjamin and Feras Mousilli that was first published in the ACC Docket in September 2010.