Developing a logo for your company is an important step in branding. This business logo, no matter what it is, has to be unique and certainly fitting to your needs. Once you put the time and money into creating a logo that is appropriate for your goals, the next step is to trademark it.
If you just have a logo you are using, that means you have a common law trademark. Even if you do anything else, you have the sole legal right to use and change that logo. However, if you do not register your logo, you have no way to secure it.
What Is A Trademark?
A trademark is a legal designation. Once in place, it protects intellectual property from infringement. Your logo could be an intellectual property you or your business own. With intellectual property, you decide when to sell it, who can use it, and just about anything else related to it. When someone else uses your business logo without your permission, that’s called infringement. Infringement is illegal in most cases.
Your trademark protects your ownership of that logo. When you trademark your logo, your right to be the sole user of it is strengthened. You gain additional legal protections.
5 Benefits For Trademarking Your Logo
Why do it? Many people simply don’t recognize the value that comes from trademarking their logo. If you put a lot of time and money into the design of it, you want to protect it. Consider the following.
#1: It Is A Straightforward Process
One of the first things to know is that trademarking is a straightforward process. The trademarking process requires several steps. The first is to ensure that the mark is available for trademarking. That means that you need to search for any other mark that may be similar to your own. There need to be enough differences from it that anyone could tell the difference. The search and clearance process can be a bit in-depth, but you can have a professional do it for you.
Once you are confident it is original, you can then apply for registration at the USPTO’s Principal Register. There is an application to file that must be done accurately. It can be done by mailing in the application or completing it online. Then, the USPTO will approve your application or request more information. There is also a period of time when it will be published to allow any other party to object to it. You will also need to submit a statement of use within six months that shows that you have used the trademark.
The good news is getting a logo trademark can be easy. You can work with a team that can do this for you, minimizing the risk of delays.
#2: It Provides You With Numerous Rights And Protections
A trademark for your business logo can provide you with a number of distinct rights if you register it through the USPTO. That includes:
- The right to take legal action when you feel someone has infringed on your trademark. This is done in federal court.
- You hold exclusive rights to use your trademark in relation to goods or services that you list on your registration. You are presumed to be the legal owner of it.
- The public is notified about the registration. That gives people time to state if this trademark is otherwise in use.
When you take steps to register your trademark – which really only takes a matter of a few minutes to complete if you work with a professional – you gain a bit more peace of mind. The logo is yours. You have proof that it is yours. You can use it as you wish and fight against those who may try to use it without your permission.
Remember, just creating your logo gives you some rights. You gain the right to use it, but it may be more difficult to prove in court that the logo is yours if someone else starts to use it. The trademarking process helps to ensure the above rights are enforceable in many situations. You don’t want to assume your logo is protected.
#3: You Get Some Foreign Support
Are your products going to be globally available? If you have a fantastic business concept, you may not want another company in another country stealing that idea.
To be clear, registering your trademark in the U.S. does not provide you with any enforceability in other countries. However, it does pave the way to make it easier for you to trademark your product in other countries. Because it is already trademarked in the U.S., other government offices may view that as a good indicator that your logo is really your own and that they can also approve it.
Additionally, it may help prevent companies from importing foreign goods that have, in some way, infringing on your trademark. For example, you do not want a company placing your logo on the products they are shipping into the country. If they did that, it could mean that your customers experience poor service or inferior products. That tarnishes your branding.
It is a good idea to work with an attorney if you feel that this has already happened. Protecting your logo and brand in general means keeping a close eye on competitors, especially those who are oversea. They may not have the same laws in place to protect business owners from losing this level of protection.
Take action, too, to trademark your logo in other countries. This is a separate process in each country. However, if you plan to do business in that country, having legal protection in place is quite beneficial.
#4: Trademarking Your Business Logo Protects Your Brand
One of the most important benefits that come from trademarking your logo is that it works to protect your brand. Your logo and brand are linked. If someone tries to use your logo, it could lead to consumers forming an opinion of your company’s products that is not accurate. It may even make it hard for you to prove to anyone else that those inferior products were not your own.
With a trademarked business logo, you have less risk of someone using it. If they do, you can take them to court to prove that you are the rightful owner of that trademark.
If you are growing your brand, you want to ensure that the images associated with it – including your logo – always represent your goals for your company. You will use this logo in most of your branding. That may include your online presence, product labels, partnership agreements, and much more. You do not want to give anyone else an easy way to infringe upon your rights.
Your brand counts on your logo. It often becomes the foundation of what people remember about your business. Take this seriously. It could impact your business for years to come if another party uses your business logo. If that party steals your logo, they could try to file a claim in court that it belongs to them. That could cost you your business in the long term.
#5: Protect Against Claims Made Against You
Someone else could create a logo that looks like yours. They could try to come after you stating you infringed on their rights. If you have a trademark in place, you can show that you took the legal route in ensuring your trademark was viable.
This type of situation could lead to a number of different outcomes. You may need to prove that your image was the first being used. That is hard to do, especially if you have not trademarked it in any way prior. However, if you take action now, you can protect your business logo from anyone else trying to create one that is the same.
Remember, when you have a trademark, that gives you the exclusive right to use that image or symbol over anyone else. If someone else is using it, you can take legal action against them to stop them from profiting from your trademark.
The Value Is Clear
There are restrictions on what you can trademark. You also need to be sure you complete the application properly and meet all steps required. However, with some help, you may find that it is a fast, easy process that puts in place numerous protections for your business. The question may be, why not do it?