You’ve just received a great logo to represent your business. But hold up…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 brand reality is crucial. And if you are starting a business for the long haul, 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 some combination that connects products or services with their maker. 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. 

When Does a Logo Become a Trademark?

For the trademark ownership to come into effect, you have to use the logo for products in commerce. Since you’ve already paid the designer for the logo, the trademark belongs to you.

The logo will become a trademark when you start using it for your business. For example, you can use it on label packaging or products, which your customers will recognize. The combination of shapes and colors of the logo will help the public to recognize your brand.

Can Your Logo Be Trademarked?

Hundreds of thousands of trademarks are filed through the Patent Office every year. However, not all trademark applications are accepted. For example, logos that are offensive or misleading cannot be trademarked. 

On the same note, if your logo is too similar to one that’s already registered, it won’t be registered unless you are in a completely different line of business. For example, Apple Computers and Apple Corps are registered because, although similar, they are in two completely different lines of business. The former is famous for making the iPhone while the latter is a record company owned by the Beatles.

Still on registration, you won’t be granted a trademark if your logo is visually similar to another that has already been registered. This is done to save consumers from getting confused by the logos.

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 and looking it on the Design Search Code Manual

You can save a considerable amount of time and money by vetting obvious conflicts of your logo from the onset.

3. Hire an attorney

It is smart to hire an intellectual property attorney if small parts of your logo have already been registered. The attorney can make your work easier by handling all the USPTO negotiations on your behalf.

4. Complete the application

Next, you’ll have to complete an online application, which is timed and has to be completed in an hour. You can only apply for one mark for every application. During the application, you’ll have to provide a clear scan of the mark. The cost of the application ranges from $225 to $325, 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.

6. Monitor the progress

It will take anywhere from three to six months for the USPTO to review your application. You can check the status of your application online at http://tarr.uspto.gov or by calling 800-786-9199.

7. How to handle delays

In case it’s determined that some parts of your logo have already been previously registered, you should expect a delayed response. You can hire an attorney to help you with the negotiations for the applications, which can take a few months or even years.

8. Final response

Finally, you’ll get an official response on whether your trademark application has been accepted or denied. If your application is rejected, you’ll receive a letter with an explanation of the rejection and what corrections you can do for the logo to be reconsidered.

If your logo is approved, your trademark will appear in the weekly USPTO publication known as the “Official Gazette”. After publication, anyone that has objections to your trademark application can object 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.

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.

By: Melody Lankford
After graduating from Davidson College, Melody Lankford earned her J.D. from Florida State University’s College of Law in 2004 and was admitted to the Florida Bar that same year. Ms. Lankford joined Raydon Corporation as in-house counsel in 2004. She worked there until 2012, when she founded the Lankford Law Firm. She is an experienced Daytona Beach small business attorney who offers sound legal counsel and experience-based insights to her business clients.