So What Is The Difference?

Last week I talked about how clients say they don’t know the difference between trademarks and copyrights.  Then I didn’t explain what it was.  I am here to solve that issue.

A trademark is something that customers use to help with things like:

  • “Hey, I bought that thingy before, and I liked it.  I want it buy it again!”  OR
  • “Hey, I bought a thingy from those people, and I liked it. I want to buy more stuff from them, even if it isn’t that exact thingy.” OR
  • “My kid wants this super-specific thingy for his birthday, and his grandpa wants to get it for him.”

In other words, it is an indication of source.  It is something that helps a customer know that all of the beliefs that they have from a prior experience can be repeated because they know whatever they are buying is coming from the same people they bought from before.  The flip side can be true, too.  If I had a horrible experience, I might use that trademark to avoid buying things from a particular source again. 

A copyright concerns itself with an expression of an idea.  It doesn’t care if you bought it or not or if you will ever buy it again.  It cares if someone came up with a creative way to tell you about something. That way of telling might be writing or drawings. It might be music, sculpture, or dance.  Heck, it might even be architecture.  But it expresses thoughts and ideas, not just reputation. 

For example, this blog post is subject to copyright. It is me trying to tell you something in a way that makes sense to a non-lawyer.  We can debate if it worked or not. The logo that comes along with it, that’s a trademark.  I’m hoping people see it and connect it to good legal services and want to hire us.  The blog post language and its copyright are connected in that I don’t want others to steal my words and sell their legal services, but you aren’t using the post to be sure it is me you are buying from.  If you saw this somewhere else, you are less likely to connect it to the source of OG+S. 

The logo helps with that connection. You read this and think, “Yeah! That’s exactly what Mr. Muffles needs to read,” and you forward it on. Once Mr. Muffles agrees and thinks he wants us to help him with his legal work, he can look at our logo and name and find us.  And make sure when he finds “us,” it really is us. A win for both us and Mr. Muffles!