After you have created a logo for your brand, the question arises of how to patent a logo. Although logos cannot be patented because patents are specifically for protecting inventions, there is a way to safeguard logos through trademarks or service marks. Trademarks are used to protect logos associated with products. On the other hand, service marks are used for logos related to services. Both trademarks and service marks are commonly referred to as trademarks. If you follow the established process, you can effectively trademark your logo.
Why Should You Trademark Your Logo?
A logo is a design that people or companies use to promote their business. It can be an image, stylized words, or a combo of both.
Your Logo Holds Great Value
It is one of the most vital assets a company possesses. People can instantly recognize a good logo and use it to guide their purchasing choices. Just like any valuable asset, your logo deserves protection.
If you have a trademark, you inform the public that your logo is an original creation of your own. It can enhance the respect of your branding.
Grant You Freedom
When you get your logo trademarked, you have the liberty to use it in any way you desire.
Prevent Logo Theft
Without a trademark, anyone can use your logo freely. However, using a trademarked logo without permission is against the law. Trademarks act as a deterrent against immoral companies that attempt to steal your logo. Registered trademarks are listed with the US Trademark and Patent Office. They make it tougher for others to misappropriate your logo.
Aids Business Growth
When your logo possesses a registered trademark in the US, you can utilize it across the country. It is particularly beneficial for small firms that aspire to expand into franchises.
Start With A Trademark
When you create a logo, you automatically have a primary trademark under the law. You gain rights in your local area by only using your logo.
To enhance your rights, you can simply add the trademark symbol (™) next to your logo. If your logo represents a service-based business, such as a law firm, you can use the service mark symbol (SM). These symbols, known as common-law marks, give protection under both common law and federal law. Using these symbols allows you to take legal action against anyone who uses your logo without permission.
The trademark symbols indicate that the design belongs to your business and demonstrate your intention to register the trademark in the future. You can use the trademark and service mark symbols indefinitely, as there is no time limit for registering your logo as a trademark. Some small companies choose to use the TM or SM marks without actually registering their logos.
If your business operates only within your state, you have the option to register a state-based trademark. You can accomplish this if you apply with your state’s Secretary of State office to obtain the trademark.
However, registering your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) offers more significant benefits. It is advisable for firms that can afford the legal and filing fees. The advantages of a registered trademark include:
- Recognition of trademark rights throughout the US.
- Access to federal courts for cases involving trademark infringement.
- Constructive use and notice, which prevents others from claiming ignorance about your trademark as a defense.
- After five years of unchallenged registration, your trademark can achieve incontestable status.
How to Trademark a Logo?
Want to know how to get a logo trademarked? If you want are interested in trademarking a logo, you need to submit an application to the USPTO. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is responsible for reviewing all new trademark and patent applications in the US. It also monitors existing trademarks and patents to identify any instances of infringement.
How to Register a Logo in USA?
Look for the Same Logos
If you want to ensure the originality of your logo and its eligibility for a trademark, you should search for similar logos. The USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Search System allows you to search for logos with existing valid trademarks. If you come across similar logos, it is advisable to make adjustments to your own logo to ensure its uniqueness when you submit your application.
Hire a Company
If you conduct a personal search, it can be a good starting point. However, it is common for beginners to miss relevant trademarks. So, for more accurate and effective results, it is a clever move to hire a search company or a trademark attorney. They can perform a thorough search, with attorneys having the edge. They better define search criteria and assess the search results.
Complete the Application Form
To initiate the trademark application process, access the registered trademark application form available on the USPTO website, specifically in the trademarks section. You have the option to complete the application online or download the form as a PDF to fill it out later.
Once you have completed the application form, you need to submit it along with the required filing fees. The filing cost for an online application for a registered trademark ranges from $250 to $350 per class. For paper filings, the fee is $250 per class. Each different application of your logo, such as for print ads and T-shirts, requires a separate class. It is crucial to submit a complete application free from errors since the fees are non-refundable.
What to Do After You Submit the Application?
Once you have submitted your trademark application to patent a logo, you will need to wait for a response from the USPTO. It can take several weeks. During this time, a representative from the USPTO will conduct a search to determine the originality of your logo and evaluate your application.
There are two possible outcomes after you submit your application.
You Gets Approval or Receive an Office Action
The ideal scenario is that you will get approval for your trademark application. It means that your logo meets the necessary criteria and has been successfully registered. However, there is also a chance that you will receive an office action from the USPTO examining attorney. An office action indicates that your request has not been approved. So, you may need to make changes or address specific issues raised by the attorney. If you receive an office action, a trademark attorney can assist you and make the necessary adjustments and guide you through the resubmission process. You can resubmit your application as many times as needed until you can get approval.
Use the Registered Logo
If your trademark application gets approval, you can start using the registered trademark logo. This involves placing the ® symbol next to your logo. It indicates that a registered trademark protects it. It is vital to note that using this symbol before receiving approval from the USPTO is illegal. You can use the ® symbol only to promote the goods or services listed in your federal trademark registration as long as your registration is valid.
As the owner of a registered trademark, it is your duty to enforce your trademark rights. Also, to prevent others from using your trademark without permission. One effective method is to establish a “trademark watch.”
You can arrange this through an attorney who will monitor potential infringements of your trademark. If someone violates it, you will get an alert. Also, you can take legal action, such as sending a cease-and-desist letter or pursuing legal measures to protect your trademark rights.
How to Patent a Logo of Different Types?
Protecting your logo through a patent is a wise decision. Let’s explore how to patent a logo design of different types.
To patent an abstract logo design, you should focus on its unique elements.
When patenting an illustrative logo, pay attention to its distinctive elements and artistic style.
When seeking to patent 3D logos, emphasize their unique three-dimensional aspects.
Patenting logo animation requires a slightly different approach, i.e., paying attention to its technical elements.
To patent custom logo designs, focus on their distinctiveness and originality.
Trademark vs Copyright vs Patent
Trademarks are like special signs that companies use to protect their brand names, logos, slogans, and other things that make them unique. They make sure that people can easily recognize and connect a particular brand with its products or services.
Copyrights are used to safeguard original artistic and creative works, such as books, music, movies, paintings, and photos. They give the creators special rights, so others can’t copy or use their works without permission.
Patents are like special protections for new inventions. They can be things like new processes, machines, or even special mixtures of stuff. Patents give the inventors special rights to their inventions for a certain time. It means they get to control how they use, make, and sell their inventions.
Knowing how to patent a logo is crucial to protect the logo from infringement or theft. A trademark for the logo is essential for any firm. It is a complex process and may require legal help. However, it is vital to safeguard the brand identity and unique assets of your business.
Should I Patent or Copyright My Logo?
Trademarks play a crucial role in identifying a company or brand. Therefore, it is logical to seek trademark protection for elements such as the brand name, logo, or image. By doing so, you can prevent others from using your logo or a similar one that may cause confusion, especially when it comes to selling the same or similar products or services as yours. Trademark protection provides the legal means to safeguard your unique brand identity and maintain exclusivity in the marketplace.
How Much Does it Cost to Patent a Logo?
As of June 2020, the cost of trademarking a logo with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) ranges from $275 to $660. It is vital to note that these figures may have changed since then, so it is suggested to check the current fee schedule provided by the USPTO. In addition, there may be legal fees associated with the trademark registration process. It depends on whether you choose to work with a trademark attorney or seek professional assistance.
Alternatively, you have the option to register a trademark at the state level. It typically costs between $50 and $150. However, it is worth noting that federal registration offers greater legal protection and benefits compared to state-level.
The USPTO provides four different forms for trademark registration, each with its own associated pricing. These forms cater to various conditions and demands, so it is key to select the appropriate form based on your specific situation.
How Hard is it to Patent a Logo?
Ensuring the correct and proper trademark registration is indeed crucial. It can be a complex process. It is highly suggested to seek professional assistance to handle the trademark application process effectively. If you hire a trademark attorney who specializes in intellectual property law or works with a specialized service, it can greatly benefit you in navigating the intricacies of the process. Generally, it takes a minimum of six months or longer to complete the process.
How Do I Legally Patent a Logo?
If you want to obtain trademark protection for a unique logo, it is possible to register it with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The registration process can be initiated by anyone authorized to file on behalf of a business that is primarily located within the United States. If the business is located outside the US, it is necessary to engage the services of a patent attorney to handle the filing process.
How to Copyright a Name and Logo?
Don’t know how to trademark a logo and name? To secure a copyright or trademark logo, you must register it with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. It is crucial to choose a unique name for your company, as common words or phrases lacking inherent distinctiveness are not eligible for trademark protection.