First of all, we need to understand what exactly trademarks, patents and copyrights are. Trademarks can identify the origin of goods or services and have distinctive features. For example, McDonald’s, we know that it sells fried chicken burgers when we hear the name. This sign shows its function of distinguishing the origin of goods or services. Actually, in practice, we often encounter such question “What is the relationship between trademark and brand?” In fact, a trademark stands for a brand name. When a trademark obtains high reputation, it is a brand name recognized by the consumers.
Patent is a form of intellectual property protected by patent law. Patent includes inventions, utility models and designs in China. A patent has to be in a tangible form of expression, such as products, objects.
Copyright is another intellectual property and protects the works, like literary, paintings, drawings, software, etc. For example, the following logo of Huawei consists of eight petals. This is an art work of Huawei which is protected by copyright. A third party without the owner’s consent is prohibited from using the logo, otherwise it is illegal.
Do I need a patent, trademark or copyright?
A design can be applicable to copyright (such as works of art), trademark, or design patent under specific conditions. For example, looking at the Huawei mobile phone in your hand, you might find that it involves three intellectual property rights of a trademark (i.e. HUA WEI), a copyright ( the logo, consisting of 8 petals), and patent (a design, and utility models).
Therefore, we have to apply for patents, trademarks and copyrights, respectively, as patents, trademarks and copyrights protect in different aspects of intellectual property.