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Copyright Versus Trademark

Copyright Versus Trademark

In the ever-changing world, creativity and brand recognition are the most vital things that can help a business grow. This is where intellectual property rights come into play, which are very important in safeguarding these kinds of intangible assets. Two major primary forms of IP protection that get confused are copyright and trademark. Though both provide legal protection, they serve different purposes and protect quite different kinds of creations. The following article tries to simplify the differentiation between trademarks and copyrights so that you will be better placed in making reliable decisions regarding your intellectual property.

What is a Trademark?

A trademark is a recognizable symbol, word, phrase, design, or a combination of these elements that identifies and distinguishes the source of particular goods or services from those of others. In general, trademarks form the very basis of brand identity, which helps consumers link a particular mark with the quality, general reputation, and reliability of a certain brand.

Here are some common examples of trademarks:

  • Brand names: Apple, Nike, Coca-Cola
  • Logos: The swoosh symbol of Nike, the apple logo of Apple Inc.
  • Slogans: “Just Do It” by Nike, “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand” by M&Ms.


What is Copyright?

Under copyright law, original works of authorship are protected, and the owner is provided with the authority to make copies, distribute, adapt, and display them in public. Various creative expressions within which works may be copyrighted are:

  • Literary works: Books, poems, articles, scripts
  • Artistic works: Paintings, sculptures, photographs, graphic designs
  • Musical works: Songs, compositions
  • Dramatic works: Plays, screenplays
  • Cinematographic works: Movies, videos


Key Differences Between Copyright Versus Trademark

While both trademarks and copyrights are part of intellectual property laws, there are wide discrepancies on issues related to their scope of protection, mode of registration, and duration for which such protection is enforced. The following table shows these key distinctions:

FeatureTrademark (UAE)Copyright (UAE)
Subject matter protectedBrands used to identify goods or servicesOriginal works of authorship
Purpose of protectionTo prevent consumer confusion and ensure brand recognitionTo safeguard the creative rights of authors and incentivize the creation of original works
RegistrationOptional (although registration strengthens legal protection)Generally automatic upon creation of the work
Registration authorityMinistry of Economy’s Department of Intellectual PropertyMinistry of Economy’s Department of Copyright
Duration of protection10 years from the filing date, renewable for subsequent 10-year termsLife of the author plus 50 years after their death

When Can Both Trademark and Copyright Apply?

In some cases, one creation may be eligible for protection under both trademarks and copyrights. Consider, for example, a company logo that contains an original work of authorship in the form of an artistic design. The mark would then be entitled to protection as a trademark for identifying a brand and as a copyright for preserving the artistic expression. An intellectual property attorney can advise you about whether your creation is worthy of protection under both.

Legal Framework for Trademark and Copyright in the UAE

The United Arab Emirates has a very effective regime of intellectual property, governing and protecting both trademarks and copyrights. Legislative reforms have only added more protection to this regime. The main points are summarized here below:


  • Governing Law: Federal Decree-Law No. 36 of 2021 issued on Trademarks, or the “Trademark Law,” entered into effect in January 2022, replacing prior law on trademarks. Amongst several enhancements to the new Act is the multi-class system for the cost-effective protection of multiple product or service categories through a single application.
  • Registration: Registration with the Ministry of Economy’s Department of Intellectual Property is not compulsory, but highly recommended. Registration grants more legal protection and speeds up enforcement procedures should there be a case of infringement.
  • Protection Period: The protection period for registered trademarks shall be 10 years from the filing date of the application, counting from the date of filing, and renewable for subsequent 10-year terms.


  • Governing Law: Federal Decree-Law No. 38 of 2021 relating to Copyrights and Neighboring Rights (the “Copyright Law”) also entered into force in January 2022. This law revised the regime for the protection of copyright in the UAE and took into account best international practices.
  • Registration: The protection of copyright shall subsist as soon as a work is created. Registration before the Department of Copyright with the Ministry of Economy is not compulsory but has benefits associated with it, like facilitation of enforcement actions and prima facie evidence of ownership.
  • Protection period: In the UAE, The Author’s economic rights set forth in this Decree-Law shall be protected through his lifetime and (50) fifty years later.

Benefits of Trademark and Copyright Protection

  • Deterrence against infringement: Trademarks and copyrights discourage others from copying or imitating your protected intellectual property.
  • Legal recourse in case of infringement: Registration provides a strong legal foundation for pursuing legal action in case of infringement.
  • Enhanced brand value: Trademarks establish brand recognition and loyalty, contributing to a company’s overall value.
  • Incentivize creativity: Copyrights reward creators for their intellectual efforts, encouraging the production of original works.

How Farahat & Co. Can Assist You

It’s a significant point to know the difference between a trademark and a copyright. Trademarks and copyrights protect different things and provide different kinds of protection, so it is crucial to find out what will be right to apply to your case.

At Farahat & Co., we specialize in trademark registration, and intellectual property rights and offer assistance in the checking out of copyrights and trademarks. Our intellectual property experts will help you register your mark, protect your copyright, or resolve a dispute related to protection over intellectual property. For more information, get in touch with us to make sure your intellectual property will be well-protected and your rights secured.

Read More: Difference Between Logo and Trademark