How Copyright, Trademark and Patent differentiates

We encounter the terms copyright, trademarks, and patents everywhere in our daily life. For example, we see the words “© Copyrights” under each website when surfing the Internet, or hear the news that “Scientists have come up with inventions…”, or come across trademarks with the ® sign on the products’ packaging when shopping. So how are these signs different and legally protected. Below are some of the criteria to distinguish these objects.





Representation forms

© and year of publish or name of copyright holder(s).
Ex: ©2020

Patent or “Pat.” and Certificate number of patent registration
Ex: Pat. 12546

® upon registration or “TM” (trademark) hay “SM” (service mark) prior to registration

Subject matters

Works covered by copyright laws

a technical solution in form of a product or a process which is intended to solve a problem by application of laws of nature. A patent could be a compound, a machine, a process or a combination of the above

Any signs or symbols to indicate the origin of goods

Protection criteria


– Being novel;
– Involving an inventive step;
– Being susceptible of industrial application.


Disclaiming elements

– a creation of the mind not in any mode or form of expression

– And subject matters not covered by copyright protection stipulated in Article 15 of the Intellectual Property Law including sews of the day as mere items of press information; legal documents, administrative documents and other documents in the judicial domain and official translations of these documents; and processes, systems, operation methods, concepts, principles and data

– Laws of nature, abstract notions.

– And subject matters not covered by patent protection stipulated in Article 59 of the Intellectual Property Law.

– Subject matters not covered by trademark protection stipulated in Article 73 of the Intellectual Property Law related to politics, religion

– Simple signs which are non-distinctive.

– Signs being descriptive of quality, origin, characteristics of products and services.

Bases for the emergence  of intellectual property rights

Automatically emerged when a creation of the mind is in any mode or form of expression

File application with the IP Vietnam

File application with the IP Vietnam or actually use in the course of commerce

Protection duration

The moral rights are protected forever.
Economic rights are protected for the whole life of the author and for fifty years after his/her death.
(Article 26 Intellectual Property Law)

A patent is protected from the date of granting the protection certificate and lasts until the end of 20 years from the filing date.

Trademarks are protected for 10 years from the filing date and unlimited in the number of renewal. As such, a trademark can be protected permanently if being used and renewed continuously.

Scope of rights

Exclusive copying works

The right to use, prevent others from manufacturing products applying the registered patent  for products or process

Using, preventing others from using identical or confusingly similar signs for identical or confusingly similar goods/services

International protection

Protected irrespective of form of expression in most countries (under Bern convention)

Register and grant protection in each country, or through a centralized mechanism such as PCT

Register and grant protection in each country, or through a centralized mechanism such as the Mandrid system.

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