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Copyrights and trademarks are part of the laws of intellectual property – a legal category that seeks to protect products of the human mind or intellect, such as an idea, invention, artistic expression, unique name, business method, industrial process, or chemical formula. Copyright and trademark law, as with patent law, determine when and how a person can capitalize on a creation. You are probably already familiar with patent law which deals with the protection of the mental concepts or creations known as inventions. In this section we discuss copyrights and trademarks.
Trademark law deals with the protection of a brand name, design, slogan, sound, smell, or any other symbol used to identify and market goods or services. Examples of trademarks are the words Ivory, Coke, and Nolo, as well as the Mercedes-Benz star, and the NBC chimes. Trademarks are the most familiar branch of intellectual property law. On a daily basis, everyone sees, uses, and makes many decisions on the basis of trademarks. For instance, the purchase of a car, an appliance, packaged food, a magazine, computer, or a watch, is based, at least to some extent, on the trademark.
Copyright law grants to authors, composers, programmers, artists, and the like the right to prevent others from copying or using their works without permission and two recover damages from those who do so. For example, copyright law gives an author offensive rights against anyone who copies her book without permission. Some specific types of works that are covered by copyright are books, poetry, plays, songs, catalogs, photographs, computer programs, advertisements, labels, movies, maps, drawings, sculpture, prints and art reproductions, board games and rules, and recordings.
In this section copyright law and trademark law are explained and distinguished from patents. Information is provided about acquiring and maintaining copyright and trademark protection.
And while you're here, check out: Can I Patent my Trademark While Getting a Copyright?