Copyright vs patent: What is the difference between them?

Last modified: October 9, 2020
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The main difference between a copyright and a patent is the kind of protection they offer. 

The patent protects mostly inventions, such as machines, manufactured goods, industrial processes, and chemical compositions (i.e., drugs).

Copyright protects original creations of authorship, including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture.

A patent is a property right that protects an invention for a limited time (generally 20 years). 

Copyright lasts longer, but this depends on several factors. Works created by an individual are protected for the lifetime of the creator, plus 70 years. Works created anonymously, pseudonymously, and for hire, are protected for 95 years from the date of publication – or 120 years from the date of creation – whichever is shorter.

When you register your work for copyright you have the right to control and distribute it, whereas a patent actually prevents others from selling or importing it.  

Get started today with copyright registration.

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