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How to trademark a logo
Brand Protection
5 mins

How to trademark a logo

Table of Contents:


    As you may know, protecting intellectual property goes hand in hand with business operations. Certainly, building and maintaining a business does not only involve making sales, reaching quotas, and such, it also involves, among many other facets, taking proactive measures in safeguarding business assets. This includes protecting your intellectual property to maximize commercial benefit.

    It might not be as direct and apparent, but intellectual property protection actually contributes significantly to the economic aspect of business operations. For instance, with respect to trademarks, safeguarding business marks, such as your company logo, helps in protecting the identity, reputation, and value of your brand. Of course, as your brand grows, the value of your trademarks also grows. Consequently, many would be tempted to infringe on your trademark, illicitly profit from your brand, or take advantage of your hard work. 

    Thus, in today’s post, we will do a recap on 

    • What is a trademark and why is it important to businesses? 
    • How to trademark a logo 
    • Why businesses should be interested in trademarking their logos
    • How to prevent trademark infringement with respect to brand logos.

    What is a trademark?

    To recap, a trademark refers to any recognizable sign, logo, symbol, unique name, or design aspect that allows customers to distinguish one business from another. If you are a business owner, your business trademarks are what help to identify your goods and/or services from your competitors. A logo can be so powerful that consumers immediately know that what they are spending money on is from a source that they know and trust.

    As discussed in a related article on trademarking an idea, Nike’s swoosh, the Adidas three-stripe logo, and the name and golden arches of McDonald’s are just some of the most famous examples of trademarks, specifically business logos. Without a doubt, these popular brands are easily distinguished because of their identifiable, well-known marks.

    What are the steps to trademark a logo?

    1. Check the uniqueness of your logo.

    One of the most important requirements, before even undergoing the trademarking process, is to make sure that the logo that you plan to register as a trademark is completely original. If any existing enterprise is using the same already-registered mark, or even if it is not technically the same, but is almost identical, your business logo might not be granted a trademark registration. 

    Thus, uniqueness, through an efficient trademark search, is key and should be your first step in trademarking your business logo.

    2. Prepare a physical drawing of your logo.

    A trademark application necessitates the submission of a clear “drawing” of the trademark to be registered. For US registrants specifically, the US Patent and Trademark Office includes this requirement, which will not only help the reviewing agency to ascertain that the logo is unique, but it is also what the public can view once your trademark records are available. This helps avoid conflicts in subsequent trademark registrations because it can be used as evidence if there are cases of trademark infringement in the future.

    3. Prepare the trademark registration cost by determining what type of trademark you want to register.

    Apart from having the physical drawing and other documentary requirements for US trademark registration prepared, it is also important to be ready for the corresponding costs. As to the trademark registration fee, it must be noted that this amount varies depending on the type of your trademark application: standard character drawing or special form drawing

    Usually, business logo trademark registration falls under special form drawing, which is the type of drawing in trademark application that involves a specific stylized text or a design element, and which offers protection for the particular depiction or drawing provided by the registrant. However, some business owners opt to register their logos in standard characters, as this offers the broadest form of protection for business marks, in that the trademark protection will not be limited to a specific font, style, size, or color, unlike in special forms.

    4. File for trademark registration for your logo.

    Once everything listed above has been prepared and finalized, you can now file for trademark registration for your business logo with the USPTO. The USPTO has made the initial application convenient for registrants, particularly through the Trademark Electronic Application System. Here, you will have to choose from two filing options, which will also, naturally, affect application costs.

    When your business logo has been successfully registered as a trademark, you will receive from the USPTO your registration certificate that includes the drawing registered and other relevant information as to the trademark.

    Why is it important to trademark your logo?

    It protects your brand.

    To reiterate, the concept of trademarks is all about brand identity. Your logo, needless to say, is a significant aspect of your visual identity as an enterprise. It helps you stand out among other businesses, sets your products and/or services apart from similar and counterfeit ones, establishes your distinctiveness and presence in the market, and builds trust and goodwill among the buying public. Hence, protecting your logo by registering it as a trademark, in essence, protects your brand identity and business as a whole.

    It protects your consumers.

    Trademarking your logo, and your other business marks for that matter works to protect not only your bottom line but also your consumers as well. Specifically, when your logo is registered as a trademark, trademark infringement is effectively minimized, so there is less chance of confusion among the consuming public with respect to the products and/or services that are genuinely from your enterprise and which are from impostors or scammers. Your brand remains unique, easily identifiable, and is protected against bad actors. 

    It protects your rights regarding the use of the mark.

    When a logo is successfully registered as a trademark, the trademark owner enjoys a number of exclusive rights over the protected mark. This includes the right to the use of the logo in the sale and/or advertising of the goods offered or services performed by the business. It also includes the right to prevent others from using or exploiting the logo in any way other than how t was intended, and finally the right to seek legal action against those who infringe upon your rights as the trademark owner. All of these rights play a crucial role in a trademark owner’s ability to not only use their logo without fear of others using it, but also to allow the trademark owner to police those that use the logo without the trademark owner’s clear permission.

    How can a logo’s trademark be enforced?

    In connection with the point above, once a trademark is successfully registered it is much easier to enforce your exclusive rights regarding your business logo.

    One of the substantial benefits of having your business logo registered as a trademark is that you will be able to legally enforce your rights over infringers. For instance, when an infringement has been detected, you can choose to send a cease-and-desist letter that formally demands the perpetrator to take down any material that unlawfully contains your protected mark. 

    Another option is to file an infringement suit which, although expectedly costly and possibly time-consuming, is definitely a compelling way to enforce any trademark owner’s right to the protected mark. Important to note is the fact that this route is only available to logos that have been successfully registered as trademarks; one cannot opt for this judicial remedy if they are not a legal trademark owner.

    It must be emphasized, however, that any trademark owner would not be able to legally enforce their right against infringers if they cannot detect trademark infringement in the first place. Hence, it is also just as crucial to actively do trademark monitoring to track unauthorized use of your enterprise’s registered trademarks.

    What’s next?

    Given this discussion on trademarking a business logo, it cannot be denied that this is an action that business owners must prioritize and undertake. It is key not only to protecting your brand’s visual identity and safeguarding its reputation but also to increasing the value of your business and minimizing profit losses as well. 

    For a cost-effective and hassle-free trademark protection approach, let Red Points’ Trademark Monitoring Software do the job for you, among its many other brand protection features, automatically detects and removes trademark infringements. 

    Additionally, you can also choose to learn more about how else to protect your logo, and your business altogether, through Red Points’ Brand Protection Guide.

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