Protect your business logo with a Trademark
A logo can have intangible worth for a company. It tells your customers what your brand stands for and sets you apart from the competition. As a result, knowing how to secure your logo is critical to your company’s success.
If a competitor came in first and trademarked a similar logo, they could sue you, and you’d have to start all over again with your brand image.
STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO PROTECTING YOUR LOGO
- Decide on Your Logo Concept
As you may think, the first step in obtaining a logo trademark is to design your logo. A shape, symbol, image, word, or a combination of these can be used in your logo design. The most critical element is to make sure your brand stands out.
You can’t just choose a dictionary word that has something to do with your goods or service and use it as your logo. If you operate a milk firm, for example, your logo cannot simply be “MILK.”
Working with a trademark attorney can you help in this situation. An attorney can assist you with the design process to verify that the logo is distinct enough to be approved as a trademark. At the same time, you can concentrate on designing a logo that reflects your company’s goals. Once the logo is finalized, your attorney can check to see if it complies with the USPTO’s guidelines.
- Check for Existing Trademarks Before You Approve the Design
While it’s self-evident that you shouldn’t take off your competition when designing a logo, merely distinguishing yourself from your obvious competitors could get you in trouble. Before you approve the final design of your logo, you or your trademark attorney should check the TESS database of the United States Patent and Trademark Office to determine whether there are any other trademarked logos that are similar to yours.
Trademarks are fiercely guarded by businesses. Even if your logo is original in its whole, it may contain shapes, symbols, or even colors that have been trademarked by another company.
If they believe your logo infringes on any feature of their trademark, trademark owners will have the opportunity to file an opposition to your trademark application. So why don’t you just file your trademark application and wait for any objections?
Designers of logos are not cheap. The application fee for a trademark is at least $350, plus legal fees if you hire one. If a trademark owner’s objection to your logo is upheld by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), you will have to pay for each of these services again. A trademark search can help you save time, money, and effort.
- Ensure a Design Distinctive Enough to Trademark
A generic or archetypal symbol is frequently used by businesses and institutions to symbolize their brand. Consider how many stars, hearts, and paw prints you see in advertisements. Many marketing professionals believe that using these ubiquitous symbols makes sense because they are universally understood and successful at describing a brand because of the cultural meanings we’ve given them. When you see a heart, you automatically think of love. You think of wildness and nature when you see a tree. These symbolic logos, on the other hand, are never as generic as they appear.
To get permission from the USPTO, you’ll need to create a logo that has a distinct personality. In other words, there must be something distinctive about your logo that distinguishes it from all the other registered trademarks for stars, pine trees, light bulbs, and so on.
If you’re going to use a common symbol for your corporate logo, make it unique, as these firms and institutions have done. Attaching a wordmark, adding a design flourish, or utilizing a unique color scheme to demonstrate that your mark is your own will set you apart from the competitors. This will assist you to enhance your ownership of the mark and protect you from potential trademark infringement.
- Apply for Your Trade Mark as Soon as Possible
Even if your product or service isn’t market-ready, you should still consider filing a trademark application. Why spend money to trademark something that doesn’t yet exist? Because doing so offers you a greater level of protection.
For the USPTO to approve a trademark application, the applying company must prove it currently uses the mark in commerce, or that it intends to use the mark in the near future. Filing an “intent to use” application helps ensure that the logo you just designed will be safe and totally protected before you roll out a full branding and marketing campaign. If you’re not working with a law firm or a trademark attorney, you’ll need to refer to the United States Acceptable Identification of Goods and Services Manual when describing your logo.
After you’ve been accepted, you have six months to choose between two options. You must provide proof to the USPTO if you begin utilizing your logo in commerce during the six-month deadline. Otherwise, you’ll need to request an extension. A fee is charged for each extension request.
A normal Trademark Application is all that is required to apply for an “intent to use” trademark. You can specify that your application is based on a bona fide or good faith intent to use in commerce in a section. The government will send you a Notice of Allowance once your application has been received. You then have six months to use your trademark and file a supplemental “Statement of Use” form (or longer if you pay for an extension).
Your trademark will then be registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
- Wait for the trademark to be approved
After you submit your application, it will be reviewed by a Trademark Examiner. Your application will subsequently be approved or rejected by the examining attorney. Trademark refusal can occur for a variety of reasons. The USPTO, for example, does not register any marks that purport to bear the picture of a deceased US President whose spouse is still alive. (Unless it is done with the spouse’s permission.)
If your mark is seen to contain imagery or statements that degrade national symbols, it may be rejected. You’ll also find it difficult to register markings that could be considered controversial or immoral. It’s also possible that your mark will be rejected if it’s deemed generic. The list could go on and on. Because the USPTO does not issue reimbursements for unsuccessful applications, it is best to get it correctly the first time.
The USPTO will provide you with guidance for maintaining your logo once it has been granted. At this time, it’s also a good idea to set up a trademark monitoring service. A trademark monitoring service will be tasked with preventing the illegal use of your mark by other businesses and organizations.
Learning how to trademark a logo is rather simple, as these procedures have demonstrated. Any small firm may protect its identity by registering its logo if it pays attention to detail and hires a qualified trademark attorney. Don’t be alarmed by the procedure. The effort will be well worth it once you’ve secured your trademark
How Can We Collaborate to Trademark Your Logo?
We can assist you if you don’t want to go through all of the formalities involved in trademarking a logo on your own.
The Disadvantages of Not Registering Your Logo
How crucial is it for a company’s logo to be trademarked? Consider Coca-Cola, one of the most well-known brands on the planet. Coca-Cola is such a profitable firm that it can survive practically anything. It is sold in over 200 countries.
Even if half of its manufacturing plants were destroyed, the corporation would be able to rebuild and recover. Most banks would happily make loans based on Coca-Cola’s identification if the corporation faced a severe financial shortage.
The loss of the company’s brand would be the most difficult thing to recover from. Coca-Cola would become just another nameless soft drink manufacturer in a sea of possibilities if it lost its trademark registration for the brand. Shortly after that, the company is likely to start to suffer. Coca-Cola’s annual sales may be roughly $50 billion, but the company’s brand is an intangible asset and is worth much more.
Your company’s identity is represented through your logo. It’s what sets your company apart from the competition. So, it’s only natural that you’d want to trademark your logo. Unfortunately, far too many businesses delay trademarking their logo for a variety of reasons, only a few of which are acceptable.
Is it necessary for a corporation to register its logo as a trademark? That is debatable. Do you have ambitious aspirations for your business? Do you want to prevent competitors from copying your brand name and logo? Because if you do, you’ll need to start protecting your brand’s and intellectual property’s originality right now.
The most potent marketing tool in a small business’s armory is its logo. It encapsulates all your brand stands for while also eloquently describing what your firm performs. It offers your brand a face and provides a rallying point for your customers and partners. An excellent logo sets you apart from the competitors, which is why you should safeguard it.
Every day, a lawsuit is filed against a small firm because the logo they spent $15,000 to develop infringes on someone else’s trademark or service mark. Worse, they may learn that one of its competitors has plagiarized their logo, with limited recourse because they failed to take the necessary legal precautions to protect themselves. (This is one of the most significant drawbacks of relying on a “common law” trademark.)
Allowing this to happen to you is not a good idea. Before you sign on the dotted line to create and trademark a logo for your firm, ensure sure it passes legal muster.