Difference Between Copyright and Patent

Since, in this commercialized world, protecting one’s intellectual property needs to be done very carefully, getting to know the difference between copyright and patent has become very important. To protect the exclusive rights of authors and inventors for their creative work either writing or inventions, copyrights and patent have been applied. Patents and copyrights save the intellectual property right of a person from being copied by anyone. Both copyright and patent protect the creative work of intellectuals for a specific time and can be renewed. The aim of applying copyrights and patents is to promote the progress of science and useful arts.

What is Copyright?

Copyright is a form of protection that covers the field of creative work both fiction and non-fiction. Any authorship or original work like literary, musical, pictorial graphic or artistic are included in copyright protection. The 1976 Copyright act does not permit anyone to reproduce the original or derivative works expect owners of authorship. According to this law, only original authors who are holding the copyright are eligible to reproduce their own work. Moreover, only copyright holders have right to distribute the copies of their intellectual work. Publicity of the copyright work is also right of only original author. Copyright protection is limited only to form of expression, not for subject matter of writing.

What is Patent?

Patent protects inventions, processes, devices or methods from being copied. Patent provides property right to inventors for those inventions, which seems new and useful for people. Patent and trademark office issues patent right. This right prevents others from copying, selling or advertising the invention, which is not invented by them. There are three types of patents; utility patents, design patents and plant patents. Utility patents are offered to those persons who discover or invent a useful product or those who made some improvement in previously designed product. Design patents are for those people, who invent some ornamental design. Similarly, plant patents are given to those persons who invent or discover some new variety of plant.

What is the difference between Copyright and Patent?

Most people have confusion in copyright and patent. To magnify the difference between these terms, here are some points.

• Copyright covers the works of authorship like literary, musical and dramatic work. On the other hand, patent protects those inventions that are new and useful.

• Copyrights are arts based while patent are science-based protections.

• To apply for copyright , authorship must be original and real medium. The requirements for patent are new, useful and non-obvious.

• As the authorship work created, protection from copyright begins. While, patent protection is not applicable, until patent is properly issued.

• Copyright is issued to the author until his/her life plus 50-70 years, depends upon country law. On the other side, patent protection time is different in different countries. Normally, patent provides protection for 10-20 years from the date of application.

• A copyright is almost free and paperwork is not very complicated. On the contrary, applying process for patent is much difficult. The reason is that checking process of invention is so lengthy and costly.

No doubt, both patent and copyright grant the owners of intellectual property their exclusive control over production, sale and advertisement. However, it is very important to clear the difference between these two terms and their condition of application, as a large number of intellectual work remain hidden from people’s eyes due to lack of knowledge.


Further Reading:

  1. Difference Between Utility and Design Patent
  2. Difference Between Patent and Trademark
  3. Difference Between Provisional and Non- Provisional Patent
  4. Difference Between Trademark and Copyright