Brand your Ideas as your ownBranding Your Business – What are the Differences Between Trademarks and Copyrights?

While trademarks and copyrights both offer protection under the law with regard to your brand, they each protect different aspects of your businesses’ intellectual property as explained here by our San Diego intellectual property law attorneys.


A trademark protects a name, logo or slogan that is used to identify and distinguish a product or service in the marketplace. Trademarks are used to differentiate one product or service from competing products or services.

By way of example, if your business is engaged in designing clothes, the name of your brand could serve as a trademark. The name would identify, distinguish and differentiate your company’s clothing from other clothing designed by third parties.  When people hear or see the name of your businesses’ brand name, they would understand it to be a reference to your clothing, and not to the clothing of a third party.

Additionally, the purpose of having trademarks for your business is to stop competitors from using your brand name for use on their products or services. If a third party uses your identical brand name or a confusingly similar name, that could cause confusion in the mind of your customers, and people might assume the clothing brands were related. If this were to occur, the law provides you with remedies to stop the other party from using the same, or a similar, name or logo.


Instead of protecting a name or slogan, a copyright protects an original creative work, such as a book, a film, or a painting.

By having our San Diego intellectual property law attorneys register a copyright, the author of the creative work can stop others from copying or reproducing their work without permission.  A copyright provides you with the right to control how your creative work is used.

For example, books are protected by copyright. This means that if you published a book that copied the text of another book without the copyright owner’s permission, then you would be in violation of the owner’s copyright. The owner could then sue you in federal court for copyright infringement.

Copyright law exists to provide creators with the exclusive rights to their works. If anyone could copy and resell creative works without restriction, creators would have much less incentive to produce anything. Copyright law allows them to profit from their creative endeavors.

Examples of copyrightable content include:









Song lyrics

Musical composition

Here are some useful links to the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the California Secretary of State’s Office where trademarks and copyrights are registered:

If you need to register a trademark or copyrights, are engaged in a dispute regarding your businesses’ intellectual property, or simply have more questions about this area of law, contact our experienced San Diego trademark and copyright law attorneys today or browse our website. We’re here to help.