Copyright Lawyers, Trademarks and Copyright

Many people are unsure as to what types of intellectual property fall under copyright law and what fall under trademark law.This is something that your copyright lawyer will be able to explain to you more fully if you ever have a problem in this area, but for a brief overview of what they both are and the differences between the two of them, please read on.One of the main differences between the two of them is in what they actually cover. If you speak to your copyright lawyers, they will be able to tell you that copyright refers to content that has been recorded in some way. This could include audio recordings, films and other broadcasts, works of art, works of literature, corporate literature, computer programmes and more. It does not, however, include titles or names as they are seen as being too general. It also doesn’t cover ideas; it only covers physical content created.Trademarks, by contrast, cover things such as names, slogans, designs, symbols and other things that identify a specific organisation or product. Another big difference between the two of them is that copyright is an automatic international right, whereas trademarks require registration and tend to apply to a specific nation or territory. This is a difference your copyright lawyers will be able to explain more fully.If you use a trademark, you will also be permitted to use ‘TM’ to signify that it is a trademark, or if you register it you’ll be able to use the ® sign (although you must never use this unless you have actually registered your trademark as this is illegal). If you do register your trademark then you should bear in mind that it can take up to 18 months to be processed, although it will normally be much faster.While trademarks tend to only apply to specific territories, there is now a Common Trademark that covers all EU countries. Your copyright lawyer will be able to advise as to whether asserting your automatic right to copyright is enough or whether you would be advised to register a trademark to protect a specific part of your work. This will generally depend on specifically what you are looking to protect and what is contained within it.You might, for instance, be able to trademark a specific part of a larger copyrighted work (such as an identifying symbol that otherwise might not be protected), and this is something copyright lawyers will be able to advise you on.