If you’re interested in protecting your intellectual property, you’ve probably come across information on trademarks and copyrights, but maybe aren’t sure which you need. This post will break them down to help you make the right decision for your needs.

What is a Trademark?

You use a trademark on a product, word, name, phrase, or symbol you want to have exclusive rights to. There’s also what’s called a servicemark, which is used to trademark a service rather than a product. You can even trademark your domain names and social media usernames.

When you have a product or name that you don’t want others to use, you can trademark it. Now, others can’t copy your efforts, and if they do, there will be fines and penalties to deal with.

What You Need to Know About Trademarks

The process to trademark something can take anywhere from 9 months to several years, depending on how complicated what you’re trying to trademark is, and whether there are similar trademarks out there.

The first place to start is by conducting a free trademark search to see if the name or mark you want to use is available. From there, you have the option to conduct a more thorough comprehensive trademark search in all states. Then, if your desired trademark is available, you can register a trademark and protect it from being used by others.

You can expedite the process by working with a company like CorpNet that knows how to file the paperwork properly and can eliminate potential errors that could hold up the process.

What is a Copyright?

You can use a copyright to protect anything from your website or blog copy to computer code or photos you’ve taken. Once it’s copyrighted, no one can use that intellectual property without your explicit permission.

While you don’t have to actually register your content to have it trademarked, formally doing so can give you the tools you need in the event that you have to sue someone for copyright infringement. That’s because copyright registration gives you a public record of ownership.

What You Need to Know About Copyrights

If you do decide to take the route through formal registration of your copyright, you can register for it online through the U.S. Copyright Office or have a legal online filing service like CorpNet handle it for you.

It’s important to protect your brand name, content you’ve created, and other assets, whether they’re physical like products or digital like your Twitter handle. Taking measures to trademark or copyright your property can ensure you avoid headaches in the future.