Intellectual property: What is the difference between copyright and trade mark?

Intellectual property rights are one of the most valuable assets of any business, as they establish what makes your brand unique. In our free upcoming webinar, we will break down the basics of intellectual property and how to enforce your rights. This article provides a short summary on two confusing aspects of intellectual property: copyright and trade marks.



Copyright is a form of intellectual property which protects the expression of original ideas such as books, artwork and music, but not the ideas themselves. In Australia, copyright is automatically protected without registration and the owner of copyright has exclusive rights to determine how the work is used. Businesses may have copyrighted material on their website, for example a blog post or promotional video. As a general rule, the original creator of work will retain copyright unless they assign it to others.


Trade marks

Trade marks protect your intellectual property rights in an identifying aspect of your business. This may include a logo, colour, sound, scent, picture or phrase. Businesses must register their trade marks to gain exclusive rights to use, sell and licence whatever they have marked.


Key takeaways

  • Copyright protects the original expression of ideas but not the ideas themselves. Copyright is automatically protected without registration.
  • Trade marks protect an identifying aspect of your business such as your logo, and must be registered to gain legal protection.


FREE intellectual property webinar

Gladwin Legal is holding a free webinar about the fundamentals of intellectual property! Sign up to learn about how you can understand and protect your intellectual property rights.


For more information, please contact us at or 1300 033 934.