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What is the difference between copyright and patent?

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The main difference between a patent and a copyright is the subject of protection they offer.

The patent mostly protects inventions, such as

  • machines,
  • manufactured articles,
  • industrial processes, and
  • chemical compositions, such as drugs.

The copyright protects

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

A second big difference between a patent and a copyright is their expiration date.

A patent is a property right that safeguards an invention for a limited period of time (generally 20 gears). Copyright lasts longer depending on several factors. For works created by an individual, protection lasts for the life of the creator, plus 70 years. For works created anonymously, pseudonymously, and for hire, protection lasts 95 years from the date of publication or 120 years from the date of creation, whichever is shorter.

When copyrighting your work, you have the right to control and distribute your work, while with the patent you actually prevent others from selling, or importing your invention.  

Get started today with copyright registration.

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