When you’re considering all of the factors that go into building a business, the logo is one of the most important to your business because it communicates ownership, quality, and values. It’s imprinted on your products, your business card, website, social media, and most importantly, in the minds of your clients. Your logo is likely to be one of the first interactions people have with your company and it’s your opportunity to make a solid first impression, show you deliver a quality service, and visually express your purpose. But before you send the logo out into the world, you should consider how to protect it (the design and the business behind it) through trademark law.
In this article, we will share with you the things you need to know about trademarking a logo.
Let’s talk about Why is trademarking a logo important?
Registering your logo as a trademark gives you the priority to use that mark. If the logo isn’t trademarked, you’re only entitled to use it in your geographic area. Without registration, someone in a nearby community can use a similar or even the exact same logo, and it’s unlikely there’s anything you can do to stop them, even if you used the logo first. Someone else using your logo can diminish the value of your brand and your products. If your logo is registered as a trademark, you’re able to stop someone else from using it.
Decide on a logo concept
Designing your logo is an integral part of your brand’s identity. It’s what creates recognition and boosts brand visibility. To make a logo for your business, you can use symbols, visual representations that somehow show your company’s purpose or goals, different colors, and fonts. The goal is to create an appealing, memorable logo that speaks volumes about your business. In general, it has to support the brand, its name, and the purpose, all while communicating with the target audience.
Consider hiring an Attorney
You cannot simply pick a word from a dictionary that you will connect to your product or services. Hiring a trademark attorney offers some benefits. An attorney can guide you through the design process to ensure that the logo is unique enough for trademark approval. At the same time, you can focus on creating a logo that aligns with your company’s vision. Once complete, your attorney can make sure the logo is in compliance with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) directives.
Do A Research
Before you apply, you should do research on the USPTO’s trademark database to see if there’s any trademark that has already been registered or applied for. What you need to know is if it is similar to your trademark? Is it already used on related products or for related services? If yes, it will prevent your trademark from being registered because it creates a likelihood of confusion.
Submit an application
Conveniently, the USPTO offers online filing options to trademark a name and logo. There are a few different types of registration forms, and which one you’ll need to complete depends on your situation. If you hired a lawyer, they’ll be able to help you determine which one to use.
After you submit your application, a Trademark Examiner will review it. Just this part of the process will take about five to seven days until your application appears in the USPTO database. (This is the point at which you can start checking their status online) The examining attorney will then approve or reject your application. The entirety of trademarking a logo often takes months or even years to complete.
What to do if you get rejected?
Your mark may also be turned down, one of the reasons if it is perceived to contain images or words that degrade national symbols. Most trademark applications are not approved on their first go-around according to USPTO trademark statistics. You will also have a hard time registering marks that can be viewed as scandalous or immoral. Your mark could also be declined if it is considered to be generic. The list goes on. Unfortunately, the USPTO does not award refunds for failed applications, so it is best to get it right from the start. This is how important why we highly recommend hiring an Attorney at first to help you with legal matters
After your logo is trademarked
Once your logo is approved, the USPTO will give you the guidelines that you must follow to maintain your logo. It is also a good idea to set up a trademark watch service at this point. A watch service will be charged with preventing other businesses and organizations from using your logo illegally.
As these steps have shown, learning how to trademark a logo is fairly straightforward. With good attention to detail and a good trademark attorney, any small business can protect its brand by registering its logo. Don’t let the process scare you. Once you have your trademark secured, the effort will be well worth it.