How Copyrights and Trademarks Differ

How Copyrights and Trademarks Differ

Two of the most common forms of protection of intellectual property rights are copyrights and trademarks. Copyrights and trademarks guard any business owner from violations and infringements related to their intellectual property. They can also assist any business with commercialization of its products by giving the business a more individualized presence in the market. In Malaysia, both trademark and copyright registration are overseen by the Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO).

Although they may seem similar to the uninformed, this is far from the case. Certainly, you won’t want to register for a trademark when a copyright is what you need – or vice versa. Keep reading – we will tell you more about how copyrights and trademarks differ as well as why these differences are important.

Items Protected by Copyrights and Trademarks

Copyrights and trademarks both protect distinct creations. The form of these creations determines whether a copyright or a trademark is to be used. Copyrights are primarily used for protection of certain creative works. Examples of the works which can be protected by way of a copyright include musical works, films, literary works, broadcasts, derivative works, sound recordings, and artistic works. Trademarks, on the other hand, are to be applied to commercial names, logos, and phrases. They protect the use of a business’s name as well as those of its products. Slogans and brand identity can also be protected through a trademark. Although this is not the case in Malaysia, trademarks and copyrights are sometimes deemed to be so different that in some countries, they are governed by different respective authorities.

Rights Provided by Copyrights and Trademarks

Copyrights and trademarks also provide their owners with different rights. Copyright owners can take advantage of legal, economic, and moral rights. The primary legal right available to owners of a copyright is the right to take civil action against anyone who they believe has violated their intellectual property rights. Criminal prosecutions related to copyrights in Malaysia may either be conducted by the Enforcement Division of the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperative, and Consumerism (MTDCC) or the Royal Malaysian Police. Copyright owners also have economic rights such as rights of communication to the public, rights of distribution, rights of commercial rental, and rights of reproduction. The Copyright Act 1987 is Malaysia’s intellectual property law which pertains to these rights. Moral rights include paternity and integrity rights. Paternity rights allow the product’s creator to claim originality rights over the creation or creations in question. Integrity rights permit the creator to prevent anyone else from distorting or modifying the original work to a point at which the original work is no longer recognizable, thus damaging the original creator’s reputation.


The intellectual property rights granted to the owner of a registered trademark are established through use for business purposes. The main right available to one with a registered trademark is the exclusive right to use it in the business sphere. If anyone who owns a trademark believes that this right has been violated, legal action for infringement can be taken in accordance with the Trade Mark Law.

Divisions and Combinations

Unlike copyright registration, trademark registration may either be divided or combined. An application for the registration of a trademark or the registration of a trademark itself can be divided into multiple applications or registrations. Similarly, multiple applications to register a trademark or registrations can be combined into one registration or application.

Copyrights and trademarks are important matters which must never be taken lightly. Before registering for either, do be sure to thoroughly analyze your intellectual property needs and consider the items to be protected. By doing so, you can be completely certain that you’ll have selected the more appropriate form of protection for your intellectual property.

This article brought to you by Exy Intellectual Property