Creative 101: Copyright vs. Trademark

As a creative person legal jargons are not in your wheelhouse. Therefore, in the most simplified terms, here are the differences between the two intellectual properties and how they protect your creative work and brand identity.


  • An automatic protection for original, authentic creative works that was your brainchild. Whether it is a song lyric, musical score, a blog post, a photograph, a t-shirt design, etc… You should always be prepared to show proof that it was in fact your idea and produced item(s).

    • Tip; This is referred to as the poor man’s copyright - whatever you have created or come up with, email it to yourself immediately so that there is a time and date of the initial process. Include screenshot of sketches and always date your notes during your creative process. It’s not as glamorous and is less official, but hey it’s better than nothing.

  • Pretty easy to do it yourself. Meaning you as a creative person can hop online and have your work registered for a copyright. Here’s all the FAQ’s and how to get started.


  • You can trademark a word, a phrase, a design or logo identifying the source of the goods or services of one party and distinguishing them from those of others. So, that would be your Nike, Apple, Mercedes Benz and even words like “chapstick” (owned by Wyeth Consumer Healthcare). “Google” is owned by you guessed it, Google, Inc.

  • To register a Trademark, head to where the very first task is to research through its database to make sure no other company, or individual owns what you are trying to trademark.

Do all the research you can, ask as many questions from people who have done either or both IP’s. And if it means that much to you, always do it sooner rather than later.

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