Trademark-Copyright Problems; Which is considered illegal?

Many of you may have heard about news about the trademark-copyright issues in naming the brands. However, have you ever wondered how Trademark is different from copyright? Today, ACU PAY will explain the differences and the legal way for naming your goods brands.

What is copyright?

Copyright is the only right that the law certifies that a creator of a work can reproduce, adapt, or advertise and has the right to allow or disallow others to use it. It will protect nine types of creative works: literature, drama, art, music, audio-visual materials, movies, sound recordings, broadcasting, or other works in the literature, science or art department.

Important characteristics of Copyright

  1. The copyright does not require any registration. The work is protected immediately after it is completed.
  2. The age of copyright starts from the completion of work until the creator dies and is still protected for another 50 years after the creator dies. (Only copyrighted applied art is 25 years old since it was created.)
  3. Copyright protection is automatically protected, but copyright information should be provided to the Department of Intellectual Property as a database if other people would like to apply for permission to use our copyright.

What is Trademark?

Trademark is a type of intellectual property that refers to a mark symbol or badge used on goods or services to indicate that the goods or services used with the trademark are different, such as logos.

Important characteristics of Trademark

  1. A trademark must be registered for the Registrar to consider the mark before it is protected.
  2. The term of protection is 10 years from the date of application for registration and can be used forever, but must be renewed every 10 years.
  3. Register a trademark in which country, will be protected in that country only.
  4. It can be registered internationally even in Thailand through the Department of Intellectual Property (Madrid Protocol).
  5. The principle of trademark is the faster you register, the sooner you get protection first.

The difference between copyright and trademark

When talking about intellectual property, most people are confused by the use of the words “trademark” and “copyright, both of which protect different parts of creative work. “Trademark” is meant to distinguish goods and services available on the market. On the other hand, “Copyright” protects almost all creative works except for product names, service names, advertisements, or unique slogans.

For example, we designed a logo. The logo image we designed is protected by copyright as a work of art created by creativity but does not protect the product name, advertising, or slogan in the logo. Nevertheless, if we register the logo as a trademark, all logos, whether in pictures or letters, will be protected as trademarks.

The penalty of piracy and trademark infringement

If someone else uses our logo without permission, he may be guilty of both piracy and trademark infringement.

  • Piracy is punishable by imprisonment for 6 months to 4 years or a fine of 100,000 – 800,000 Baht or both.
  • The infringement of trademarks is punishable by imprisonment for up to 4 years, a fine not exceeding 400,000 baht or both.

How to legally name a brand

    1. Name a similar name to the same product-service type

    As we all know, brand names are not considered copyrighted works, but only protected from trademark registration. If our brand name is the same or resembles others who already registered the name, it can be considered that we violated the trademark, whether copying the logo, spelling or even pronouncing similar brand names can be sued.

    1. Name a similar name to a different product-service type

    In the case of the same brand name, even if a trademark is registered, other products can be registered under the same name if they have not yet applied for trademark registration.

    1. Protect brand name in the country where we apply for registration only

    The trademark registration is “in which country it is filed, protected in that country” for example, if it is filed in Thailand, only protected in Thailand. If it is filed in the United States, only protected in the United States.

For example, a Thai Amazon coffee brand named similar to the American Amazon e-commerce brand can be named because it belongs to different product and service categories.

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