Do trademarks, copyrights and patents protect the same thing?
Trademarks, copyrights, and patents do not protect the same things. A trademark typically protects brand names and logos used on goods and services although, musical notes, sounds, and fragrances can also be trademarked. Copyrights protect an original artist or literary work and patents protect an invention. Therefore, if you invent a new leaf blower, you would file a patent for the invention of the machine, a trademark to protect the brand name of the leaf blower and a copyright for the advertisement of the leaf blower.
I have a domain name and business registration, isn’t that the same as a trademark?
A domain name is not a trademark. A domain name is simply a web address that links to the internet protocol address (IP address) of a particular website. A domain name, by itself, does not identify that the goods or services are coming from a particular source. Registration of a domain name with a domain name registrar, such as GoDaddy, does not give you trademark protection. Actually, it is possible that you could be required to surrender your domain name if it infringes on someone else’s trademark rights.
Business registration is similar in that it does not automatically qualify your business name as a trademark. Many states require businesses to file articles of incorporation with their Department of State, to form a business entity and as part of the process, these businesses have to choose a name that is not in use in the particular state (such as Acme, Inc. or Acme, LLC). If no other company has filed the exact name in the state, then the state will likely issue you a certificate of incorporation for that particular business entity. However, the authorization to use a name in the particular state does not provide trademark protection and a trademark owner can try to prevent you from using your business name.
A trademark is not a business name or a domain name and it offers protections that are not offered by a business name or domain name. If you would like more information on trademarks you can read our post on “What is a trademark or service mark?”
If you are ready to file your trademark: