This is it. The day that you finally bring your new business idea to life
You’ve come up with a catchy name, you’ve registered your business name with the State, and now you’re one step away from launch. You need to figure out how to trademark your logo.
Your logo is important. It’s a visual representation of your brand. It’s the way you get noticed in a split second by your customers. Protecting it is a no-brainer.
Let’s show you how.
It Starts With Research
Before you get into the actual process of trademarking your logo you have to do a little bit of research. Make sure your logo is “distinctive in your field.” That’s just fancy talk for saying: “make sure no one else has your logo.”
Even if your logo is similar to others in your field, you may want to change it. The littlest similarity may get you in trouble with your competitors. It’s best to avoid any confusion altogether.
Experts advise enlisting the help of an attorney when doing this “clearance search” on your logo. An experienced trademark attorney will explore every possible option when looking for similar logos. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has a lot of this information online.
Next, once you find similar trademarks you’ll want to examine them for possible conflicts. The Trademark Status and Document Retrieval database will have this information. Check to see if any conflicting trademarks have been denied or cancelled.
How to Trademark a Logo
Ok, now the process of trademark can begin. The whole process kicks off with a trademark application. In this application you will be providing a written description of your logo, as well as the goods/services you will be providing through that business.
The USPTO will also request a drawing of your logo that meets their size specifications. In addition to the drawing, the USPTO will also require a “specimen.” This is just an example of your logo in use (i.e. on a product, a marketing piece, etc.).
Once you properly fill out your application, and pair it with your drawing and specimen, it’s time to file it with the USPTO. You can file online using the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS), or if you happen to live close to our Nation’s capital, you can hand-deliver it to the Trademark office in Alexandria, Virginia.
From this point on, you will need to follow up with your application. The USPTO will assign a trademark attorney to your application. They will contact you if there are any errors, or if they need any additional information to help process your application.
It can be a lot of “back and forth” between you and your assigned USPTO attorney, but once their initial review of your trademark is done, they will post it in the Trademark Gazette for 30 days. This gives anyone else who may have trademarked the logo a chance to dispute your claim. Once 30 days passes with no opposition to your logo, you will get your registration and will now be allowed to use the ® symbol.
That’s it! The process is complete, and you’ve successfully registered your trademark with good ol’ Uncle Sam! The last step is more for your own personal benefit: you will want to enlist a “trademark watch” service. This is an attorney, or team of attorneys, who watch for public use, or any other trademark infringement, of your logo.
Business As Usual
We hope we’ve helped to demystify the process of how to trademark a logo. Now you’ll have one less hurdle to starting that dream business, and you can even get started today.
For help with more of your business legal needs check out our blog, or contact us today.