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Protecting your IP: Do you need a trademark or a copyright?



When doing business in today's marketplace, it's very important to be protected. From the formation of your business entity to protecting your intellectual property (a work or invention that is the result of creativity). Many business owners, writers, musicians, singers and artists don't know what is needed to protect their creations. A common question that I get is "do I need a trademark or a copyright?" It can be very confusing. For clarity, let's refer to United States Patent and Trademark Office.


A trademark is a brand name. A trademark or service mark includes any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used or intended to be used to identify and distinguish the goods/services of one seller or provider from those of others, and to indicate the source of the goods/services. A servicemark is the same as a trademark except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product. In general, if it is a slogan, logo or title used to identify a brand in commerce, a trademark tends to be required to protect the asset.


Copyright is a form of protection provided to the authors of “original works of authorship” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works, both published and unpublished. A creative work such as a book, film, song, or theatrical performance is generally protected by a copyright.


If you're still a bit confused, or now know what you need, contact Poulson Law, PLLC for further consultation.