This is how you Trademark your logo.
Your business is up and running and now it’s time to trademark your new logo design. It’s time to put that logo on your website, printed materials and your products, right? Not so fast. Before you unleash your logo upon the world, you have to make sure that you have secured the rights to it.
Logos may clearly represent your company or your business by using graphics and words, but if you don’t trademark it, other people can produce similar logos that can be extremely confusing for consumers. This can hurt your brand’s identity as it can get lost in a sea of similarly designed logos. To prevent this, you need to know how you can protect your logo by trademarking it. Here’s how:
Understand What A Logo Is and Where You Can Protect It
First of all, make sure that a logo can be a combination of words and design. It doesn’t have to have graphical elements to it beyond a stylized set of letters. You also need to take note that applying for a trademark in the US does not protect your trademarked logo in other countries. This means if you want to secure the rights to it in other countries, you will have to go through the trademarking process for each country.
Hire A Trademark Attorney Or Don’t
You can hire a trademark attorney if you want a guiding hand as you go through each step of the trademark application process. You can do this if you have the budget for it but if you don’t have the money for this kind of deal, you can do it on your own. But hey, having someone giving you legal advice every now and then wouldn’t hurt.
The first actual step in applying for a trademark for your logo is to search existing trademark logos to determine if there is already an existing one that is similar to yours. If there is, you have no choice but to redesign your logo or risk getting into legal trouble. You can do this search by hiring a search company that will do an exhaustive search for you or you can do it yourself by going through the records of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). You can use their Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS), a tool that lets you search for pending and registered trademarks.
Secure The Rights
While you can secure rights to your logo just by putting it in your products or materials that are connected to your services, it will only secure the rights for you in the specific geographic areas where you provide your services or products. If you want to have a blanket protection for your logo in an entire state or in the whole country, you will need to apply for a trademark. For statewide protection, you can file your application with the Secretary of State’s office. For nationwide trademark protection, you need to file the application with the aforementioned USPTO via their Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) which contains all the necessary information you need about the required forms for your application. You can acquire and submit necessary forms for this application via the USPTO website where you can also check the status of your application as well as renew it to keep the registration active.
Keep in mind that there are processing fees involved if you are filing your application with the USPTO. It depends on the number of classes (where you will be using the logo e.g. websites, mugs, t-shirts, etc.) and the number of marks you will be applying for. Each mark requires a separate application.
Branding your logo
Trademarking a logo and branding are two different things. When branding your logo you will want to make sure your logo is simple and easy to remember. When designing your logo you can have elements of the logo that can be pulled out to place on your T-shirts, mugs, signage, and anything else you want to promote your business on. The element you pull out of your logo will help your customers remember you at a glance. It’s also important to brand your website and marketing efforts.
If you are not confident enough that you can do this alone, you can hire trademark attorneys or the quickest and easiest way would be through LegalZoom to help you through the process. Now go out there and secure the rights to your awesome logo!