April 12, 2023

Salient features of Copyright, Trademark and Patent

This article has been written by Mr. Aditya Raj Pandey, a 2nd Year BA LLB student from Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad


In our day to day lives we come across a lot of Intellectual Properties. Intellectual Property (hereinafter referred to as IP) refers to intangible creations of the mind. These could be inventions, literary works, artistic works, symbols, designs and similar such things which can be owned by the person exclusively, this helps the owner to exclusively have rights over these creations. IP is in an intangible form which means that these properties cannot be seen or touched. The Intellectual Property rights are governed under Trade Marks Act, 1999 The Patents Act, 1970 (amended in 2005). 

Intellectual Property, as per the above laws, include:


The copyrights are the set of rights exclusively given to the inventor of the original work. These rights which are provided are regarding how the work is to be used, distributed and reproduced. The copyrights protect a variety of the creative works, including literary, artistic, musical and dramatic words, as well as software, films and photographs.  These rights grant the inventor to control over how their work is used and to profit from the same. The Copyright protection begins as soon as the original work is created and it is fixed in a tangible form, such as being written down, recorded or saved on the computer. The creator does not need to register their work necessarily with the government agency or add a copyright notice in the work to have the copyright protection over the work although, having this notice written down delivers certain legal benefits.  The certain length of time that a copyright lasts varies on the basis of several factors like when the work is created and the type of work it is. When a person uses someone else’s copyrighted work, it is said to copyright infringement. This exclusive right to use and to decide how their work is used is solely given to the owner and thus, the owner can take legal actions against the person who has infringed their rights over their work.  


Patents are those Intellectual Properties which provides protection to a property holder/owner with exclusive rights of manufacture, use and sell an invention for a particular period of time. Patents are provided by the government to the person/people who invented the Intellectual Property. This encourages the inventors to create new and useful inventions. After successfully getting the Patent rights over the IP, the owner can restrict other persons from creating, using or selling the invention without the owner’s permission. This exclusive right to use and sell the invention gives the inventor a competitive advantage and allows the owner to profit from their invention. 

Patents are of three types commonly: 

  1. Utility Patents: These types of the Patents are the most common and contain new and useful processes, machines, articles of manufacture and compositions of matter.    
  2. Design Patents: these type of patents deal with new, original and ornamental designs for articles of manufacture. 
  3. Plant Patents: these type of patents contain new varieties of the plants that have been laboratory reproduction.   

Patent infringement occurs when someone uses, makes or sells any patented invention without the permission of the patent owner. If a patent owner believes that their patent rights have been infringed, they can take legal action to make the person to stop infringing the rights of the owner and seek damages. This is to safeguard the rights of the owner of the Patent.  


Trademarks are the form of IP which   provide protection to the works such as any specific word, phrase, symbol, or design which are used to identify certain brands of goods or services. Trademarks help the consumers to identify and distinguish the products and services from different sources and this also helps the businesses to grow customer loyalty and recognition which ultimately helps in building the brand. The government while approving the trademark examines if any other person or company does not use it already. Once the trademark is obtained the person can use it to mark their identity on their goods and services to prevent others from indulging in practices which might deceive the customers. Trademarks can be renewed from time to time as long as it is used in commerce sector.    


Copyrights, patents and trademarks all are the forms of the Intellectual Property protection, all these provide the inventor or creator the legal rights of various kinds. Though all the three have difference in scope, duration of protection, and the types of work they protect there are some similarities in their nature. Following are the similarities in them:

  1. Legal Protection: all the three forms of IP protections have the provision of filing a complaint and getting legal remedies from the specific courts. As all these three are granted by the Government after thorough examination, they provide the inventor/creator legal rights and remedies against the people who infringe their rights and exploit their wonks without their permission.
  2. Exclusive Rights: All the three forms of the Intellectual Property protections provide the owners/inventors the exclusive rights over their works. These exclusive rights provide them with the rights over the decision as to how will their works will be distributed, sold further, used and monetizing it. This also gives them the right to file charge against a person who use their work without their permission. In short, they have all the tools to control the IP. 
  3. Duration: All the three forms of IP protection have a limited protection have a limited duration for which they protect the works of the owners. Copyrights typically last for the life of the author, patents for 20 years and trademarks can be renewed unlimited number of times but only if the owner uses it to protect the mark. 
  4. Protection against the Infringement: All the three forms of IP protection provides the owner of the property legal remedies to the owners in the event of infringement. This means that the owner can take legal action against the person who infringed their rights. 
  5. National and international protection: all the three forms of protection provide the shield in national and international levels.                 


Legal Protection for original works of authorship (literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work). It also covers expression of ideas but not the ideas itself. Legal protection for inventions including Discoveries, Machines, processes and products.  It is a sign, symbol, word, or phrase used to identify the distinguished goods or services. They can also be logos, designs or even sounds, scents or colors.   
Exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, display, and perform their works and to create derivative works based on their original works.Exclusive rights over making, using, selling or importing the invention Exclusive right to use their marks in connection with their goods or services and to prevent others from using the same or a similar mark in connection with similar goods or services
Copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus a certain number of years after their death, depending on the jurisdictionThe exclusivity period varies depending on the jurisdiction, but it is typically 20 years from the date of filing.Trademark protection lasts for as long as the mark is in use and is renewed periodically
In general, copyright is used to protect creative works such as books, songs, films, and computer software.In general, patents are used to protect inventions that have practical applications and solve specific problems.In general, trademarks are used to protect brand names, logos, and other identifiers of products or services.


Finally, while patents, copyrights, and trademarks all provide intellectual property protection, they vary in their purpose, scope, and duration of protection.

Patents are used to protect inventions or discoveries by granting the owner the exclusive right to create, use, and sell the creation for a limited time. Copyrights safeguard original creative works like literature, music, and art by granting the owner the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, and display the work for a set period of time. Trademarks safeguard branding components such as names, logos, and slogans, granting the owner the exclusive right to use and control their commercial use. 

While the three types of protection are governed by various laws and regulations, they all share the aim of protecting the owner’s intellectual property and preventing others from using or infringing on it. Individuals and businesses must comprehend the differences between these types of protection in order to obtain the appropriate level of intellectual property protection. 


  1. What is Intellectual Property?, WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) 
  2. All you want to know about Intellectual Property, Shubhangi Sharma, iPleaders. 
  3. The benefits of intellectual property rights in the modern era, Niharika Chavan, iPleaders
  4. Why are intellectual Property Rights Important?, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Innovation Policy Centre
  5. Importance of IPR in Today’s world, Aayush Sharma, Mondaq
  6. Patents, Trademarks and Copyrights: The Basics, Investopedia. 
  7. Here are the differences between Patent and Copyright, Pankaj Tyagi Corpbiz, Sep. 2020
  8. Difference between Copyright and Patent, Vakilsearch. 

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