More companies are applying for trademarks than ever before.
And thanks to technology and electronic filling, it’s easier than ever to apply for a trademark for your business.
If your business has a brand that you want to protect, you should seriously considering trademarking your logo. You might be wondering if you can even trademark your logo and how to go about doing so.
In this article, we’ll explain the basics of trademarking and how to trademark a logo to benefit your business.
What is a Trademark?
Simply put, a trademark protects your brand.
You can trademark any word, image, logo, or slogan that you use to identify your brand and your products. A trademark protects you from someone else stealing your idea.
They key is that the concept you want to trademark has to be distinctive. There’s flexibility when it comes to the shapes a trademark can take.
Your trademark identifies you to consumers. When many people think of a trademark, they picture a logo such as the Nike swoosh. The swoosh symbol identifies an item as a product of the Nike brand.
There are many avenues to take for personalized options of products featuring your company’s logo to boost your brand image.
Trademarking your idea protects your business from competitors. If another company creates a product with a logo remarkably similar to yours, you could lose money and customers. It’s especially frustrating if the other product is of inferior quality.
You don’t want consumers to mistake another product as your own or vice versa. If you trademark your idea and another company does create something similar enough that consumers could be confused, they are guilty of trademark infringement under the law.
They’ll have to stop using the trademark in question if you pursue legal action.
It’s worth noting that it’s usually businesses that own trademarks rather than the designers who create them. The business who uses the trademark on products in commerce is the trademark owner.
Trademarking a Logo
Technically, your logo becomes a trademark as soon you start using it and consumers are able to recognize the business behind it.
This means that when you use your logo in commerce on packaging, labels, or products and its symbols, shapes, and colors are commonly understood to represent your company, the logo is a trademark.
The law in the United States views trademarking this way, but there are some caveats. Unless you officially register your logo as a trademark, you are only eligible for common law rights to your trademark and your rights are limited geographically.
It’s also hard to enforce these limited rights. This is why we recommend officially registering your logo as a trademark through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Registering a Trademark
Registering your trademark gives you protections not offered to common law trademarks.
If you’re serious about growing your business and protecting your brand, you’ll want to officially register your logo as a trademark. Here a few of the many reasons to register your trademark:
- You’ll have what’s called presumptive ownership of the trademark on a national level. That means you’ll own the trademark everywhere in the United States. Remember that common law trademarks often come with geographical limitations.
- You can request that U.S. Customers and Border Protection confiscate any counterfeit or infringing goods that are imported into the country.
- You’ll qualify for trademark protection in countries around the world.
- You can sue for infringement on the federal level instead of in state court.
- You’re protected under the federal Anitcybersquatting Consumer Protection Act. This means you can sue anyone who registers for a domain name that is identical or similar enough to your own to confuse customers.
Can I Trademark a Logo?
So you want to trademark your logo. Can you?
If your logo is original and as long as it’s not misleading or offensive, you can trademark it. In fact, hundreds of thousands of trademarks are approved by the Patent Office each year.
Remember that your logo will be denied for a trademark if it’s too similar to an existing one. It can’t look similar, sound alike, or mean the same thing as another logo.
Of course, this is not true if the products are totally unrelated.
How to Trademark a Logo
Basically, you simply need to apply for a trademark by submitting an application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
The Office will review your application and approve or deny your trademark request. It’s important to note that your logo will be protected from the date you file for a trademark as opposed to the date the trademark is issued. This allows you to start using the logo right away.
If your business only operates in one state, you may apply for a state trademark. In order to apply for a federal trademark, you have to conduct business in more than one state.
If you are a web-based business or operate across state lines, you should apply for a federal trademark.
Register Your Logo as a Trademark Today
Now that you know a little more about how to trademark a logo, it’s time to take action.
If your business is growing, you should trademark your logo as soon as possible. If you aren’t sure if you can trademark your logo, a patent and trademark attorney can do an analysis of current registered trademarks and advise you further.
For more tips on building your brand using a logo, check out our blog.