When you design a logo for your company, you are in essence creating a huge part of what your brand symbolizes. That said, trademarking this logo could be a very good idea as you are protecting that asset of your brand. After all, some companies spend a great deal of money not to mention time and energy developing the perfect logo to represent their brand. Wouldn’t you want this design to be protected? Don’t you want to make sure that no other company can steal this logo idea? In this article, we look at what it takes to trademark a logo.
Why you should trademark your logo
When you first begin using your business logo, it is theoretically protected. Under common law in the US, your brand logo belongs to you; however, this doesn’t necessarily mean that someone still won’t try and steal this image for their uses. This is why many companies do opt to trademark their logo and in the process, prevent any other business from utilizing that same image.
If you do not choose to trademark your logo a few things can happen. First off, if your brand should grow in popularity and become more recognizable, there will be others out there who will try and catapult off of your fame. This means that they could take your logo and use it for their gain. There is also the scenario in which a company gains recognition, and a competing brand brings a lawsuit against that company asserting that the logo they are using is very similar to their own. You could end up losing that fight and consequently having to pay a fine, not to mention, have to completely redesign the logo that so many have come to associate with your brand. By trademarking your logo, you are putting a stamp on that design clearly showing that it belongs to your business—this will ultimately help you to avoid any dicey logo-related situations in the future.
How to trademark a logo
Hopefully, you agree that trademarking a logo is a good idea to prevent any issues down the road. The process of trademarking a logo is not as complicated as you might think.
1. Create your logo.
Of course, to trademark something you have to have first created it. How do you go about designing a logo to fit your business/brand? Many companies will hire a professional graphic artist and/or logo designer for this task unless of course, you have a staff member who can generate a logo. When designing your logo, be sure to think about color, font, and imagery. Remember, this is at the heart of what your brand is all about.
2. Do a trademark search.
Just as you want to protect your intellectual property with a trademark, you also want to make sure that you’re not infringing on anyone else’s property. By conducting a trademark logo search, you are ensuring that the design does not already exist. You also want to make sure that no one else already has your business name. It’s usually a good idea too to make sure that your logo design while perhaps not the same, is also not too close to anyone else’s.
3. Apply for a trademark.
Once you’re completely satisfied with your logo and are sure no one else has that logo, then you can go ahead and apply for a trademark for that logo. Filing for a trademark is usually not an expensive endeavor (generally right around 199.00). The application process on the other hand can be a bit tedious, so you must get all paperwork and required files in order before applying so that you can streamline the process as much as possible. The information you are going to want to have handy include: contact info, the class of your goods/services, description of such, the use of your trademarked logo, and any relevant information on the owners of that logo.
4. Getting trademark approval.
There can be a bit of waiting around once you’ve submitted all requisite information and paperwork. Depending on how busy the trademark office is, you could be waiting for up to five or six months to hear back in terms of approval. Once the logo is approved for trademark status, the USPTO will send you information regarding proper trademarked logo usage. You can also opt for a trademark watch to ensure that no one steals your trademarked logo. If this happens, you would then file a complaint.
If your trademark is rejected the reasons could vary; such reasons might include the logo is in some way degrading, it is scandalous, it could be too generic a logo, or also it could too closely resemble that of another business.
Is it a good idea to trademark your logo?
Whether or not you opt to trademark a logo is totally up to you. Let’s say for example you are thinking about expanding your business to multiple locations, this could warrant a logo trademark. Also, if you happen to be part of a highly competitive field/industry, then in this case it is worth looking into a trademark for your logo. If however, you don’t think your business will be around for a long time, then you might hold off on this process. Additionally, if you are just starting and are yet unsure how the company will fare, you could wait for some time to see how things progress before taking the time and spending the money to trademark your logo.
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