Copyright, Patent & Trademark – 20 Things you must know

Last Updated: June 1, 2020

1. What does copyright protect?

Copyright protects:

  • Literary work (article, essay, book, poem, etc)
  • Dramatic work (drama, play, movie, TV serial, etc)
  • Musical work (songs, lyrics, etc)
  • Artistic work painting, drawing, diagram, computer software, etc)

2. What doesn’t copyright protect?

It doesn’t protect:

  • Ideas, facts, methods of operations or system of operations
  • Name, words, phrases, logo, designs, symbols
  • Inventions, discoveries

3. Does copyright protect unpublished work?

Yes. Copyright protects even unpublished work.

4. What does a patent protect?

A patent protects inventions and discoveries.

5. What does a trademark protect?

A trademark protects name, words, phrases, logo, symbols, designs.

6. When is my work protected under copyright law?

As soon as you create your work, it is protected under the copyright law whether or not you register your work with the copyright office. However, it is recommended that you get your work registered.

7. What are the advantages of registering your copyright?

There are two advantages:

  • You get a public record of your registration in the form of a registration certificate. This certificate is strong evidence of you owning the copyright of your work.
  • If your copyright is registered within 3 months after the date of publication of your work or prior to an infringement of copyright then you can also claim for statutory damages and attorney fees in addition to actual damages which is otherwise not possible.

8.  Is my copyright registration valid in foreign countries?

Your copyright is valid in only those countries with which your country has copyright relations.

Note: The US has copyright relations with all major countries worldwide.

9. Can I copyright my website?

Yes. You can copyright your website, its contents, and photographs.

10. Can I copyright my domain name?

No. Domain names are handled by ICANN.

11. Which circular is used for copyright registration of online work?

Circular 66 is used for registration of online work.

12. Which organization handles patents and trademarks?

US Patent and Trademark Office

13. Can foreigners register their work in the US?

Any foreigner whose country has copyright relations with the United States can register his/her work in the US.

14. How do I register my Copyright?

  1. Go to the US Copyright Office website
  2. File your application electronically using ECO (electronic copyright office) service or through form CO (copyright office).
  3. Submit a copy of your work to be registered.
  4. Pay a non-refundable fee of $35 (per application) if you file your application electronically or $50 if you file your application via Form CO.

15. Does each work requires a separate application?


16. Do I get back the copy/copies of work I sent for registration?


17. Can my copyright registration be refused?


18. Do I get back the copy/copies of my work in the case my copyright registration is refused?

No. In such cases, any submitted work becomes the property of the United States government.

19. Will my personal information be available to the public?


20. How long does the registration process take and when I can get the registration certificate?

The registration process depends upon the current volume of applications. If you have filed your applications electronically then it may take 3 to 4 months. However, if you have filed your application through form CO, then it may take 20 months.
[Source: US Copyright office ]

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