What Is the Difference Between a Copyright, Patent, and Trademark?


Patent law, trademark law and copyright law all fall under the umbrella of services typically offered by Florida intellectual property litigation attorneys. They are all independent doctrines of the law, however, and separate federal statutes govern the rules and regulations related to each one. Patent law protects non-obvious intentions, like machines, synthetic drugs, or manufacturing processes. Trademark law, however, governs the protection of brand names. Finally, copyright law protects original authorship works in a tangible form, like films, sculptures, books, or paintings.

One of the most common sources of intellectual property disputes has to do with who owns the copyrights and has the rights to use it. The author of a work is the sole copyright owner for the majority of situations. When work is created by two or more people, the copyright is jointly owned in equal shares by those people. There are stipulations that can alter this, like a written agreement developed at the beginning of the project. Having a clear written agreement can eliminate the opportunity for disputes over intellectual property that lead to the hiring of a Florida litigation lawyer to sort out the dispute.

In situations where a work was created under a works made for hire agreement, the party who actually received the item is the owner of the copyright as opposed to the person who created the work. If the work was created within an employee’s scope of employment, the employer may actually retain copyright privileges. Although the basics of copyright lobby are to be relatively simple, this is actually one of the most complex aspects of the law today. If you are involved in securing a copyright or a legal dispute surrounding the use of a copyright, contact a Florida intellectual property attorney.