You’ve just received a great logo to represent your business. But wait! Before you send the logo out to the world, consider protecting the design. You can protect your logo design and the business behind it through trademark law. An intellectual property lawyer in Daytona, FL can advise you on how to protect your logo by trademarking it.
Moving your logo from just a concept to a symbol of your brand is crucial. And if you are starting a business, you want to make sure that you own the logo. This is where trademark law comes into play.
WHAT IS A TRADEMARK?
A trademark protects a logo, image, slogan, word, or symbol that helps consumers identify the source of a company’s products or services. When you get your logo trademarked, other parties will be forbidden from using it for commercial interests or in a way that extracts value from your business, without your permission.
Trademarking your logo will give your customers confidence that they are dealing with a legitimate company. Moreover, the move helps to raise your brand awareness. For example, everyone knows the Nike logo that features a swoosh symbol. When you see the logo on a pair of sneakers, you know they must be Nike sneakers.
When you trademark your logo, you are essentially protecting your business brand in the marketplace. This means that competitors cannot use logos that are similar to yours in design as customers may end up confusing their products to be yours.
CAN YOUR LOGO BE TRADEMARKED?
Hundreds of thousands of trademarks are filed through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) every year. However, not all trademark applications are accepted. For example, logos that are offensive or misleading cannot be trademarked.
Logos that contain proper names of people will not be approved without the subject’s permission. You are also not allowed to trademark a logo that contains a government symbol or insignia. Trademarks that are too similar to another company’s trademark will also be rejected.
WHEN SHOULD YOU TRADEMARK YOUR LOGO?
You should begin the process of trademarking your logo as soon as possible. You don’t even have to wait until you officially start operations or launch your products.
To make the process easier, contact an intellectual property attorney to help you.
Follow the steps below to protect your brand by trademarking your logo:
1. Assess the logo
First off, you have to evaluate the symbols or words that identify your business and brand. If the symbols or logos are too similar to existing ones that are already on the market, they may be rejected.
2. Trademark search
Next, you need to carry out a trademark search to find out whether your logo has been registered by another party. You can search for trademarks at the Trademark Electronic Search Systems. This is an online database that contains all registered trademarks.
You can save a considerable amount of time and money by vetting obvious conflicts of your logo from the onset. However, conducting a trademark search is not as easy as it may seem. For this reason, it’s best to ask an attorney to handle the search.
3. Hire an attorney
Filing for a trademark is complicated. To ensure it’s done correctly, it’s best to hire an experienced attorney to handle your trademark application.
People who live in the U.S. are not required to hire an attorney to file a trademark, although it is strongly recommended. But, individuals or entities that are located outside of the U.S. are required to hire an intellectual property attorney to file a trademark.
4. Complete the application
Next, you’ll have to complete an online application. You can only apply for one mark for every application. During the application, you’ll have to provide a clear scan of the mark. You will also need to pay application fees, which can cost several hundred dollars. The exact cost of these fees will vary depending on the category of goods or services that the logo will cover.
5. Serial number receipt
After completing the online application, you’ll be assigned a case (serial) number through email. If you made a paper application, your case number may arrive 7 to 10 days later. You can use this serial number to check the status of your application moving forward.
6. Monitor the progress
7. Respond to office actions
You will be notified by the USPTO if your application does not meet all necessary requirements or if an examining attorney has found a reason to deny your trademark request. The notification will either outline why your trademark is being rejected or what legal requirements you failed to meet with the initial application. If you receive this communication, you must respond within six months.
8. Final response
Eventually, you will receive a final decision from the USPTO. If your application was approved, the trademark will be published in the Trademark Official Gazette (TMOG). This notifies the public that the USPTO is planning on recognizing your trademark in the near future.
After publication, anyone that objects to your trademark may file a complaint with the USPTO within 30 days. If you are in the clear after 30 days, you’ll have exclusive rights to use the logo for your business and brand.
If your application is rejected, you can file an appeal with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
PROTECT YOUR BRAND FROM THE ONSET
Your logo is the primary identification of your business. When prospective customers see the logo, they will associate it with your products or services. Therefore, it is important to ensure that only you can use the logo for the type of business you are running. This is why it is critical to trademark it.
An intellectual property attorney can help you navigate the world of trademarks to ensure you protect your brand assets from the onset of your business operations.