If you create something valuable to your Tampa business, it is vital to protect it. But should you trademark it or copyright it? What is the difference between a trademark and a copyright? Trademark and copyright both protect intellectual property, but determining which one to use can be confusing.

Trademark Defined

The United States Patent and Trademark Office defines “trademark” as “generally a word, phrase, symbol, or design, or a combination thereof, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.”

Copyright Defined

The U.S. Copyright Office defines “copyright” as “a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression.”

Still not sure? Read on for a more in-depth explanation to help you determine the most appropriate way to protect for your Tampa business’s intellectual property.

The Difference Between Trademark and Copyright Explained

Let us start by stating that trademark and copyright laws differ internationally. For this article, all information pertains to the United States.

Trademarks and copyright are both used to defend your intellectual property from unauthorized use, but each is meant to protect different types of intellectual property.

A trademark is used to protect words and symbols that define a company’s brand. A trademark can apply to designs and phrases, such as a company’s logo. If you want the goods or services of your Tampa business to be identified by a unique logo or phrase, a trademark will protect your brand and ensure that your customers can distinguish your goods or services from those of another in Tampa or anywhere in the U.S.

Copyright typically protects creative works of authorship, including literary, musical, dramatic, and artistic works, even those that have not been published.

Do I Need a Trademark or Copyright?

Whether you need a trademark or copyright depends primarily on the type of intellectual property that you want to protect. However, determining which one you need is not always straightforward. This is because there can be a significant amount of overlap between these two types of intellectual property protection. A Tampa intellectual property attorney can help you determine which is right for your circumstances, and in some cases, it may be advisable to have both or even another type of intellectual property protection.

Tampa Intellectual Property Attorneys

If you are in the Tampa area, Larson & Larson Patent and Trademark Attorneys will provide the expert guidance you need to protect your valuable intellectual property from infringement, whether you need a trademark, copyright, or both.

Larson & Larson can advise you on all aspects of intellectual property protection. If you are a Tampa business owner, an inventor, an individual author, or a Tampa resident who wishes to pursue litigation for infringement, please call 813-223-3226 today to schedule a consultation.