Intellectual Property

Make sure your work is protected

Whether you need a copyright, trademark or patent, we can help make the process easy and affordable.

Whatever IP protection you need, we're here to help.

Copyright, trademark and patent: what's the difference?

Play Video

All intellectual property services


Copyright
Protects original works of authorship
Protects a name, slogan, or symbol that identifies a business or brand
Protects an original invention's functional characteristics
Protects the original ornamental design of an article of manufacture

Trademark
Protects original works of authorship
Protects a name, slogan, or symbol that identifies a business or brand
Protects an original invention's functional characteristics
Protects the original ornamental design of an article of manufacture

Utility Patent
Protects original works of authorship
Protects a name, slogan, or symbol that identifies a business or brand
Protects an original invention's functional characteristics
Protects the original ornamental design of an article of manufacture

Design Patent
Protects original works of authorship
Protects a name, slogan, or symbol that identifies a business or brand
Protects an original invention's functional characteristics
Protects the original ornamental design of an article of manufacture


Ask away. We have answers.

Common questions

What's the difference between a copyright and a trademark?
Copyrights generally protect original creative works, such as books, movies, songs, paintings, photographs, web content, and choreography. Trademarks, on the other hand, generally protect brand names, slogans, and logos that are used in the marketplace, and help consumers distinguish among products.
What works are eligible for copyright protection?
Copyright protects "original works of authorship" that are fixed in a tangible form. Broadly, this includes literary works, musical works, dramatic works, pantomimes and choreographic works, pictorial, graphic and sculptural works, motion pictures and other audiovisual works, sound recordings and architectural works.
What are the benefits of a registered trademark?
Some trademark rights are established simply by using the mark. However, these rights are limited and generally apply only to a limited geographical area. Registering for a federal trademark greatly expands your rights, and allows you to bring a federal suit against others who may be infringing on your trademark.
What's the difference between a design patent and a utility patent?
A design patent protects the unique appearance of a manufactured item–how it looks–and a utility patent protects an item's function–how it works. A utility patent may also be granted to protect a unique process or chemical compound. Some inventions may qualify for both design and utility patent protection, if both the design and the function are unique, and the design does not affect the article's function.

A specialist is here to help

Customer Care

(866) 679-2319

We're available Mon-Fri 5am to 8pm PT and Weekends 7am to 4pm PT

American FlagOur agents are based in California and Texas.


Speak with an attorney

Attorney photo

Get legal advice from an independent attorney at a price you can afford.

Pricing starts at $23.99/month


Helpful Information

Definition of a copyright

A copyright is a form of protection that prevents others from copying, performing or otherwise using an original work of authorship without the copyright holder's consent. Read full article

Searching for conflicting trademarks

It's highly advisable to search for conflicting trademarks before submitting a trademark application, because existing trademarks that conflict with yours may result in your application being denied. Read full article

Introduction to trademarks

Trademarks are important business tools because they allow companies to establish a brand for their goods and services without having to worry about other companies diminishing their reputation or profit by deceiving consumers. Read full article

What can be patented?

Under U.S. patent law, any person who "invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent." Read full article


"I'm an independent artist who needed a way to protect myself and my living. LegalZoom made the process easy and I couldn't be happier with the results!"
- Alex O., Boston, MA

Intellectual Property Protection – Register a Trademark or Copyright, Apply for a Patent

Protecting your intellectual property is important because it prevents others from capitalizing on your creativity and hard work. LegalZoom can help you with a wide variety of IP services to protect your idea, invention, or original work of art. The three main types of intellectual property protection are trademarks, copyrights, and patents. If you are a business owner who is interested in protecting your business name or logo, you may want to apply for trademark registration. Before spending time and money applying to register a trademark, a comprehensive trademark search is recommended to determine its availability. A comprehensive trademark search looks for any trademarks that may be similar to yours, including those with different spellings. Protection of your books, songs, photographs or other original works of authorship will be enhanced if you register a copyrightCopyright registration helps you establish a public record of the copyright claim and allows you to enforce your copyright in federal court. If you want to patent an idea, you'll need to start by turning your idea into an actual invention. You may then want to file a provisional application for patent to establish your priority filing date with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) which allows you to immediately start labeling your invention "patent pending". LegalZoom can help make the process of applying for a utility patent or design patent easy and affordable. Start protecting your intellectual property by registering a trademark or copyright, filing a patent, or by submitting a provisional patent application online through LegalZoom. 

© LegalZoom.com, Inc. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: Communications between you and LegalZoom are protected by our Privacy Policy but not by the attorney-client privilege or as work product. LegalZoom provides access to independent attorneys and self-help services at your specific direction. We are not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. We cannot provide any kind of advice, explanation, opinion, or recommendation about possible legal rights, remedies, defenses, options, selection of forms or strategies. Your access to the website is subject to our Terms of Use.