If you have a business that revolves around producing creative work, there’s a strong chance you will eventually require a patent, trademark, copyright, or license.

Such businesses can include:

  • Digital marketing professionals
  • Influencers
  • Digital artists
  • Graphic designers

But how do you know which option to choose ­– and if your work even qualifies for a patent, license, or trademark?

To help you better understand the process, this article will explain each option, what type of work qualifies for each protection, and why they are so important for certain professions. An experienced intellectual property lawyer at RM Warner Law can guide you through the process and answer any additional questions.

The Different Options For Protecting Your Work

You may be wondering which option you should choose. We’ll explore each option below and explain the benefits of patents, trademarks, and licenses, and why you would choose one over the other.


Copyright gives creators the exclusive rights to produce their own artistic, dramatic, or musical work. Anyone who creates this type of work is considered a copyright owner and will have their creations protected by law. Your work is automatically protected by copyright the moment it is created and published; however, you can enhance this protection by registering your work with the U.S. Copyright Office.

Works protected by copyright include:

  • Artistic pieces (such as paintings, drawings, and sculptures)
  • Photos
  • Music and sound recordings
  • Computer programs
  • Writing (such as books, poems, and blog posts)
  • Films and plays
  • Architectural works


A patent gives you the exclusive rights to inventions, including:

  • Machines
  • Processes
  • Manufacturers
  • Compositions of matter

Once your patent is granted, no one else is permitted to produce, use, or sell your invention.

The main requirements for obtaining a patent are that the invention must be useful, nonobvious, and new (not already invented by someone else).


Trademark refers to a combination of letters, words, sounds or designs that differentiates your brand from other companies. It can include brands or business names, slogans, and logos.

Trademarks are important because they act as a business’s identifier. It is what people associate with your brand. Securing a trademark is especially important for marketing professionals creating these identifiers for their own brand or others.


Licensing is when someone owns the copyright to something but allows someone else to use the work temporarily in exchange for a fee. Licenses must be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office.

Materials that can be licensed include:

  • Images
  • Art
  • Music
  • Video
  • Software
  • Graphic design elements

Why Protecting Intellectual Property is So Important in the Digital Marketing Industry

For business owners, digital marketing is one of the most effective ways to generate leads and grow your customer base. However, it’s essential to protect your creative assets so other brands cannot copy your hard work. The best way to do that is through copyright.

Creative assets that can be considered intellectual property include:

  • A business’s website design, content and domain name
  • Social media profiles and anything posted to those profiles
  • Any online ads and digital marketing materials
  • Web applications
  • Videos and sound recordings
  • Photographs

You do not need to register with the U.S. Copyright Office to have copyright over the creative assets listed above. However, you will need to be registered before suing for copyright infringement.

Your Intellectual Property Lawyers in Arizona

Do you need help protecting your business’s intellectual property? An intellectual property lawyer with experience working with advertising, marketing, and other creative professions can steer you in the right direction and protect your hard work. RM Warner Law‘s knowledgeable team has extensive experience dealing with these intellectual property matters, and more.

Call us on our toll-free number 1-866-570-8585 or fill out our contact form to discuss your case.

The post Copyright, Trademark, Patent, or License? Understanding the Differences appeared first on RM Warner Law | Online, Marketing, Internet Business Law Firm.