How to Trademark Your Logo
Once you have a uniquely designed logo for your business, the next step is to trademark it so that you are the only person in the whole universal with the legal rights to use it in branding or promoting your products and services. Failure to trademark your logo may give others a leeway to use it and trademark it for their businesses, and if the logo gains worldwide recognition as the ones we know, you stand to lose a great chance of global growth and dominance.
Before delving into the intricate details on how to trademark your logo, it is important first to understand what a trademark is and the particular items you can trademark. In simple terms, a trademark refers to a phrase, symbol, design, word, mark or any other device in use by a person or company to differentiate his products and services from those of other businesses or providers. Trademarks can also be seen as brands, and you can secure legal rights associated with it just like in the case of copyrights.
A business logo is thus a form of a trademark because it is used by individuals and businesses to distinguish their products and services from those of other companies. A logo can exist in the form of design, letters, words, symbols or a combination of all these. The process of securing a trademark for your logo in the United States is surprisingly not a complicated, and virtually any businesses or product owner can do. Just follow the steps listed below if you want to know how to trademark your logo in the United States-:
Perform a Trademark Search
The first step when you want to trademark your logo is to ensure that it is exclusively available for your adoption and use and that it is not in use, either in part or in whole by another party or business. The way to know about this exclusivity of use and adoption is by performing a trademark search. You can do this by searching the U.S Patent and Trademark’s Office records, or you can use the services of search companies like the Thompson CompuMark to find out if your logo is already in use by others and if it has been trademarked. It is, however, advisable to use a trademark attorney to do the search on your behalf when you want to trademark your logo. The beauty of using the services of such attorney at this stage is that they can refine the search terms to yield far much better results than you would have received when doing it on your own. Besides, they also possess the legal expertise to analyze the results and advise you more appropriately when you want to trademark your logo.
Secure Trademark Rights to you Logo
There are three distinct ways you can use to secure the trademark right for your logo once you determine its exclusivity. But this can only happen after you conduct a successful search, and you are sure that there is nobody else who has trademarked the logo or is using it. These methods include the following-:
Start using your logo – using the logo is the first way you can trademark it. In this manner, any person interested in using it will know that it belongs to someone and in most cases, they will look for other alternatives. The problem with this method is that it gives you very limited rights of over the logo. Any person can still go ahead and trademark it before you, thus making you infringe on their trademark rights if you continue to use the same logo.
File application with the U.S Patent and Trademark Office – though you can trademark your logo with the Secretary of State’s office in your state (when you intend to use it in your state alone), it is recommended that you file an application with the Patents and Trademarks Office so that you acquire national rights over the use of the logo. If your application is approved, your logo will receive nationwide protection and nobody else will ever be allowed to use it. It is also recommended that you use the services of a trademark attorney since such applications are always detailed with lots of legal jargon that might confuse you.
Enforce the Trademark Rights
Once you manage to trademark successfully your logo, the next and the final step is to shield it against adoption and use by any third party. This is what is referred to as enforcing your trademark and you do so by having a “trademark watch” in place. A Trademark Watch will alert you whenever anyone is using your logo or a nearly similar logo to yours. The other alternative you can use after you trademark your logo is to include the words TM on it so that whoever sees it will know that is already trademarked hence they can’t use it in any way.
These are the necessary steps needed when you want to trademark your logo in the United States. They seem simple, but when it comes to actual application, they may be tedious and confusing. This is why it is still recommended that you engage a trademark attorney at all stages when you want to trademark your logo.
Learn how important your logo is to brand identity and why it needs protection, here.