Your logo is the face of your business, and as the symbol of your brand’s identity, it needs to be under the protection of a trademark so that it doesn’t fall prey to unauthorized use.
Protecting your logo involves a process known as trademarking (copyrighting is for something else but commonly used in place of trademarking). By trademarking your logo, you’ll protect it from being copied and used by other business owners. Trademarking or “copyrighting” your logo involves several steps. Here’s our step-by-step guide on how to copyright a logo for your small or medium-sized business. Copyrights and trademarks are tools used to protect business intellectual property. This article explains the difference – for this article, just know that a business logo and name is protected by trademarks.
Also, read on to the end to find out how the services of a law firm can help you protect that which makes your brand stand out.
How To Copyright a Logo in Seven Steps
The number of steps required to trademark a logo depends on a business logo’s complexity. A business owner’s awareness of trademark and intellectual property laws can also determine how long the trademark process can take.
While the number of steps can vary, you can expect the trademarking process to involve these seven steps.
1. Conduct a Thorough Trademark Search
Before you protect your logo, you must find out if there’s an existing trademark that prevents you from obtaining registration – meaning something similar enough to confuse the public. This is where searching the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) database comes in.
To search the database, visit the USPTO’s trademark search system. The system’s database contains a list of existing and pending trademarks on various intellectual properties like logos.
2. Determine the Type of Trademark
Does your logo have special characters in it? Or does it consist of a mix of text and numbers?
Depending on your logo’s structure, you’ll have to register it under a specific logo trademark. You’ll be able to choose a “standard character mark” if your logo consists mainly of text. On the other hand, opt for a “special form mark” if your logo design has other design elements like shapes or images.
3. File an Application With the USPTO
After selecting your trademark, you can submit your application electronically or via a paper application. In your application, be prepared to provide necessary details like your contact information, a drawing of your logo, and a description of associated goods or services.
4. Pay the Registration Fee
The registration fee is payable online when you apply. As we speak, the basic filing fee costs about $320. Other filing fees are listed in the USPTO’s fee schedule.
5. USPTO Examination
Your application undergoes examination to ensure it meets legal requirements. Waiting times can vary but be prepared to respond promptly to any office actions during the examination period.
During the examination phase, the USPTO will verify your identity, your business, and evaluate your logo’s eligibility for a patent.
6. Publication and Opposition Period
Once the USPTO approves your logo, the office will publish it after 30 business days. However, between the time your logo is published and the office’s approval, other parties may dispute your application for a trademark.
For this reason, be prepared to defend against any legal opposition if any parties believe your logo infringes on their trademark rights.
Upon approval, your logo becomes an official trademark with all the federal protections of a trademark.
Why Hire a Business and Trademark Law Firm
You can apply for a trademark for your business logo or name yourself following the guidance above. The process takes 12-18 months if you do everything right. If there is a problem with your application though, it can take much longer and never get approved.
Or, you can also use law firms for this service. Drafted Legal provides LLCs and templates but there are things better left to law firms and trademarks would be one that we recommend you use a lawyer to accomplish.
Here’s how the services of a business and trademark law firm can smoothen your trademark application:
- Expertise and knowledge: Attorneys possess an in-depth understanding of trademark laws and their expertise and experience in this area enable them to navigate complexities and ensure legal compliance on your behalf.
- Likelihood of confusion analysis: During the trademark search phase, lawyers conduct thorough searches to minimize risks of rejection or infringement lawsuits. By doing so, they minimize the chances of trademark application delays, ensuring that your logo gets a trademark as soon as possible.
- Strategic guidance and representation: Attorneys assist in crafting strong applications, responding to office actions, and negotiating with opponents if needed.
- Overall efficiency and peace of mind: By enlisting a firm, you’ll save time, minimize risks, and participate in the trademarking process with confidence.
Get Trademarked Fast
With the help of experienced attorneys, you can navigate the complexities of trademark law confidently and receive a patent in a fraction of the time it would take elsewhere. If you need to “copyright a logo” (aka trademark), you can do so quickly.
Choose a firm that looks out for your business’s success and protection. Protect your brand’s symbol today and contact Henderson & Henderson.