Trademark vs. Copyright: Protecting Your Brand Identity

Trademark vs. Copyright: Protecting Your Brand Identity

—-Yadla Poojitha Reddy.

—-Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University.


In the dynamic world of intellectual property rights, understanding the distinctions between trademark and copyright is crucial for safeguarding your brand identity. Both serve distinct purposes and are governed by separate laws in India. Let’s delve into the intricacies of these two forms of protection and explore how they can fortify your business.


A trademark is a symbol, word, or phrase that distinguishes a product or service from others in the market. It acts as a unique identifier of the source of goods or services and is vital for building brand recognition. In India, trademarks are regulated by the Trade Marks Act, 1999, and subsequent amendments.

Section 2(1)(zb) of the Act defines a trademark as “a mark capable of being represented graphically and which is capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one person from those of others.” This encompasses names, logos, labels, packaging, and even sound marks.

Benefits of Trademarks

1. Exclusive Rights: Registering a trademark grants the owner exclusive rights to use, license, or sell it. This prevents others from using a similar mark that may cause confusion in the marketplace.

2. Brand Recognition: A distinctive trademark helps consumers associate products or services with a particular brand, establishing trust and loyalty.

3. Legal Protection: Trademarks provide a legal basis for taking action against infringers, allowing the trademark owner to seek damages or injunctions.


Copyright, on the other hand, protects original literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works. This encompasses books, paintings, music, films, and software. In India, copyright laws are governed by the Copyright Act, 1957.

Section 13 of the Act outlines the scope of copyright protection, stating that it subsists in original literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, and certain other categories of works.

Benefits of Copyright

1. Originality Protection: Copyright safeguards the creator’s right to reproduce, distribute, and display their original work, preventing unauthorized usage.

2. Economic Rights: Copyright holders have the exclusive right to commercially exploit their work, enabling them to derive financial benefits from it.

3. Duration of Protection: Copyright protection lasts for the lifetime of the creator plus an additional 60 years, ensuring long-term benefits for the creator’s heirs or assignees.

Distinguishing Between Trademark and Copyright

While both trademark and copyright serve to protect intellectual property, they serve distinct purposes. A trademark primarily safeguards brand identity and prevents consumer confusion, while copyright is concerned with protecting the creative expression of ideas.

For instance, a logo used by a company to identify its products would be eligible for trademark protection. On the other hand, a brochure or website content created by the company would be protected by copyright, as it represents an original expression of ideas.


In the realm of intellectual property, understanding the nuances of trademark and copyright protection is imperative for safeguarding your brand identity. By leveraging these legal tools, businesses can secure their unique offerings and establish a strong presence in the marketplace. Consulting with legal experts and staying updated on amendments to relevant acts ensures that your intellectual property rights are robustly protected. Remember, a well-protected brand identity is the cornerstone of a successful business venture.

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