Difference Between Copyright and Patent

Difference Between Copyright and Patent

When it comes to intellectual property, there are two main types of protection: copyright and patent. Although they both have value, they have different functions. Keep reading to learn more about the difference between copyright and patent.

What is Copyright?

Copyright is a type of legal protection that gives creators the exclusive right to control how their work is used, distributed, and reproduced. This includes the right to make copies of the work, to sell or lease copies of the work, and to perform or display the work publicly. Copyright protection is available for a wide range of creative works, including books, movies, music, art, and software code.

The purpose of copyright laws is to give creators control over how their works are used. However, it is important to note that copyright does not give creators complete control over their work. For instance, only the expression of ideas is protected by copyright; not the ideas themselves. Additionally, copyright law includes a number of exceptions and limitations that allow others to use copyrighted works without the creator’s permission in certain circumstances.

What is a Patent?

A patent is a type of intellectual property that, for a specific amount of time, grants its owner the sole authority to create, use, and sell an invention.

Anyone who creates a novel and useful process, machine, product, or material composition—or any novel and beneficial improvement thereof—may be eligible to receive a utility patent. Anyone who creates a novel, unique, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture is eligible to receive a design patent. 


Patents are granted by the government in order to encourage people to invest in the development of new products and technologies. By granting a limited monopoly on an invention, the government provides incentives for individuals and companies to invest time and money in developing new products and technologies.

Copyright protects original works of authorship

Copyrights are a form of intellectual property that protects original works of authorship. This includes things like books, movies, songs, and architectural designs. The purpose of copyrights is to encourage people to create new works of art by giving them a temporary monopoly on their creation.

There are two main types of copyrights: registered and unregistered. Registered copyrights are those that have been officially registered with the government. Unregistered copyrights are those that have not been officially registered but still exist under common law.

The term of a copyright is 70 years in the United States. As a result, the designer of a  work has the exclusive right to make, use, and sell it for 70 years after they die. After that point, the work becomes public domain and anyone may use it without asking the copyright holder first.


There are a few exceptions to copyright law. One is fair use, which allows for the use of copyrighted content for specific, constrained uses like criticism, commentary, and news, reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research. Another exception is compulsory licensing, which allows someone to use a copyrighted work without permission from the copyright holder if they pay a royalty fee and meet other conditions set by law.

A patent protects invention or process

An invention can only be made, used, and sold by the person who has a valid patent on it for a specific amount of time. Any novel and practical method, apparatus, article of manufacture, material composition, or any novel and practical enhancement thereof, may be the subject of a utility patent. Any new, unique, and ornamental design for a manufactured good are eligible for a design patent.


The purpose of patents is to encourage people to invest in the development of new products and technologies. By granting a limited monopoly on an invention, the government provides incentives for individuals and companies to invest time and money in developing new products and technologies.
A patent protects an invention or process from being used or sold by anyone other than the patent holder.

Utility patents and design patents are the two primary categories of patents. Utility patents may be granted for any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof. Design patents may be granted for any new, unique, and ornamental design for a manufactured good.

Utility patents are further divided into three types: product-by-process claims, composition-of-matter claims, and machine-or-transformation claims. 

Product-by-process claims protect products that are made by a specific process from being copied or imitated by others. 

Composition-of-matter claims protect chemical compounds from being copied or imitated by others.

 Machine-or-transformation claims protect processes that are performed by machines or that transform one thing into another thing from being copied or imitated by others.


There are several requirements that must be met in order for an invention or process to be eligible for a patent. First, the invention or process must be novel; that is, it cannot already exist in the public domain. 

Second, the invention or process must be non-obvious; that is, it must not be something that would be clear to someone with a basic understanding of the subject.

Third, the invention or process must have utility; that is, it must be useful in some way. 

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Term difference between copyright and patent

A copyright is valid for as long as the author is alive plus 70 years. This means that the creator of a work has the exclusive right to make, use, and sell it for their entire life, plus 70 years after they die. After that point, the work becomes public domain and anyone may use it without asking the copyright holder first.

The term of a patent is 20 years from the date it is granted. This means that the owner of a patent has the exclusive right to make, use, and sell their invention for 20 years after it is granted. After that time, anyone can make, use, and sell the invention without permission from or paying royalties to the patent holder.

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FAQs

  • What is copyright and patent? 

Copyright and patent are two types of intellectual property rights. Copyright protects original works of authorship, such as literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, while patent protects inventions or discoveries.

  • What is the difference between copyright and patent? 

The main difference between copyright and patent is that copyright protects only the expression of an idea, while patent protects the actual idea or invention. Copyright protection is usually for a limited period of time, while patent protection can last for 20 years or more. Copyright protection is automatic, while patent protection must be obtained from the government.

  • What are the benefits of copyright and patent?

 The benefits of copyright and patent are that they provide incentive for people to create new works and inventions, and they help to ensure that these works and inventions are available to the public. 

  • What are the disadvantages of copyright and patent? 

The disadvantages of copyright and patent are that they can be expensive and time-consuming to obtain, and they can sometimes be used to restrict access to information or ideas.

  • How to get copyright and patent

In order to obtain a copyright or patent in India, you will need to file an application with the Indian Copyright Office or the Indian Patent Office, respectively.

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