Difference between copyright and trademark

Federal Trade Commission

Federal Trade Commission office in Washington, DC at night.

(WYTV) – What’s the difference between a copyright and a trademark? Both protect your intellectual property.

Copyright covers an artistic work such as a book or a video. A trademark protects items such as a company brand, its logo, and it also protects your symbols or colors or sounds.

In the “Simpsons” cartoon scripts, it’s called “annoyed grunt.” But Twentieth Century Fox controls Homer Simpson saying “D’oh!”

LucasFilm trademarked the sound of human breathing through a scuba tank regulator better known as Darth Vader’s breathing, also the sound of the lightsaber, it’s actually microphone feedback.

In the TV show “Law and Order,” it’s the beginning three notes you hear the theme music. Composer Mike Post wrote that along with the show’s theme song. It’s not a sound effect, it’s actually a piece of music that gets a royalty for Post and Universal holds the trademark.

Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. protects what Burroughs wrote and it holds the trademark for his hero’s yell that Johnny Weissmuller made it famous.

Pillsbury owns the rights to the Pillsbury Doughboy giggle.

Taco Bell has that bong sound trademarked so the Hamburglar can’t steal it.

The American Family Life Assurance Company, better known as Aflac, has that duck quacking the word “Aflac” trademarked.

And Verizon owns American Online and phased it out. No more trademarked “Welcome,” “You’ve got mail,” and “Goodbye.”

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