The Ultimate Guide to Trademarking a Logo for Your Business
If you have designed a logo for your business, you may want to protect it from unauthorized use by others. Trademarking a logo is a crucial step in protecting your brand's identity and ensuring that you have exclusive rights to use it in connection with your products or services. In this post, we will cover several points you need to know when you trademark a logo, including what can or cannot be registered as a logo, things to consider before registering a logo, and steps to follow to trademark a logo.
What is a Logo?
A logo is any design or symbol that represents your brand, including words, images, graphics, and slogans. They can be simple or complex, colorful or monochromatic, and often evoke emotions and associations with a brand. When creating a logo for your brand, it’s important to ensure that it’s unique and not too generic because a distinctive logo is more likely to be granted a trademark registration.
What can or cannot be registered as a Logo?
When you trademark a logo, it should be included in one of the following types:
- Wordmark: A wordmark is a logo that consists of a word or words that represent a brand. Examples of wordmarks include Coca-Cola, Google, and FedEx.
- Pictorial mark: A pictorial mark is a logo that is composed of a picture or an image that represents a brand. Examples of pictorial marks include the Apple logo, the Nike Swoosh, and the Twitter bird.
- Abstract symbol: An abstract symbol is a logo composed of an abstract design representing a brand. Examples of abstract symbols include the Adidas three stripes, the Mercedes-Benz star, and the Pepsi globe.
- Combination mark: A combination mark is a logo that combines both a wordmark and a pictorial mark or abstract symbol. Examples of combination marks include the Starbucks logo, the Burger King logo, and the Mastercard logo.
Not every logo can be registered as a trademark. The following types of logos are not eligible for trademark registration:
- Generic or descriptive logos: Logos that are too generic or descriptive and do not have any unique elements or designs cannot be registered as trademarks.
- Similar logos: Logos that are too similar to existing logos cannot be registered as trademarks, as they may cause confusion among consumers.
- Offensive logos: Logos that contain offensive or derogatory elements cannot be registered as trademarks.
Tips for Trademarking a logo
Trademarking a logo can be a complex process, and there are several things to consider when applying for trademark registration.
Here are some things to be aware of:
- Specify the use of the logo: When trademarking a logo, you must specify the goods or services with which you plan to use the logo. Trademarks are granted based on the goods and services specified in the application.
- File for trademark protection early: It’s better to file for trademark registration as soon as possible, as trademarks are granted on a first-come, first-served basis. Registering your logo early on will give you exclusive rights to use it in connection with your business.
- Regularly monitor your trademark: It’s important to keep an eye out for any potential infringers and take action if you see anyone using a similar logo to yours. Regular monitoring of your trademark will ensure that you can protect and enforce your exclusive rights. You can also sign up for our free trademark monitoring service.
Steps for Trademarking a Logo
Here’s a brief overview of the steps you need to take to trademark a logo:
Step 1. Conduct a trademark search: Before you apply for a trademark registration for your logo, you should conduct a trademark search to make sure that there are no similar trademarks already registered or pending that could potentially create confusion with your logo. You can conduct a search on an IP office website or use a third-party service provider. For specific methods, try checking out our previous post - Trademark Fundamentals: Check Your Availability!
Step 2. Choose a trademark Class: Trademark applications are filed in specific Classes based on the goods or services the trademark is used to represent. You will need to choose the appropriate Class or Classes for your logo. IP offices have lists of trademark Classes that you can use to determine the appropriate Class or Classes for your logo. Checking our previous post - Trademark Class Search: It’s Easier Than You Think It Is!
Step 3. File a trademark application: You can file a trademark application online or by mail. The application should include a description of the logo, a statement of use, and the appropriate fee. For a simple approach, submit an application within minutes using MARQ Folio.
Step 4. Wait for the IP office’s examination: After you file your trademark application, it will be assigned to an examining attorney who will review your application to ensure that it complies with all the requirements. The attorney will also conduct a search for conflicting trademarks.
Step 5. Respond to any office actions: If the examining attorney finds any issues with your application, they will send an office action detailing the problems. You will need to respond to the office action within six months to address the issues.
Step 6. Receive your trademark registration: Once your application is approved, you will receive a trademark registration certificate that gives you exclusive rights to use your logo in connection with the goods or services you have specified in your application.
Following these steps, you can secure a trademark registration for your logo and prevent others from using it without your permission. Remember, trademark registration is not just a legal formality but also a valuable asset that can benefit your business in the long run.
For a simpler and faster way to trademark your logo here’s a great option: Our global trademark registration service MARQ Folio offers a revolutionary online trademark filing and monitoring process that optimizes communication, reducing your time and cost.
To learn more about how MarqVision can help you navigate every aspect of registering your trademarks around the world, including choosing the correct trademark Class, searching for trademark availability, and managing your trademark portfolio visit our MARQ Folio product page.