April 22, 2011
There are three major types of intellectual property law: Copyright, Patent and Trademark.
The distinction between the three can often be confusing and gray, but in general copyright protects artistic expressions (literature, movies, photos, music, etc.), patents protect ideas and inventions and trademark protects any “mark” associated with a business.
However, trademark is very different from other areas of intellectual property. You don’t run afoul of the law simply by copying the mark itself but, as a tradeoff, trademarks can protect a much wider variety of things that would not fall under any other area of protection.
Yet, at the same time, trademark often overlaps with copyright, especially when dealing with some logos, and there is a great deal of confusion between copyright and trademark in discussions online.
All in all, trademark is a thorny and often misunderstood area of intellectual property law that demands a closer look, especially if you routinely write about companies or use trademarks in your post.
So what do you need to know about trademarks? The basics are below.