Learning how to trademark a logo is critical to securing your brand and, more broadly, your business. Company logos are valuable assets unique to every business owner, providing a great way to leave lasting impressions on potential customers. Trademarking a logo provides you with legal protection against counterfeits and other kinds of fraud as a type of intellectual property.
Protecting this asset requires understanding the best way to get a trademarked logo. The following step-by-step guide will help walk you through the process and give you a clearer idea of how to get your logo trademarked.
Trademarking a logo doesn’t have to be a murky process. You can break it down into manageable, understandable steps, which allows you to tackle everything efficiently. At the most basic level, you will want to trademark your logo by registering with the USPTO.
Gaining trademark protection for your logo can be as simple as following these steps:
Ideate Your Trademark
Search For Your Trademark
Register Your Trademark
Monitor Your Trademark
Deal with Any Office Actions
It might seem obvious, but before you can start the application process to trademark your logo, you have to actually have a logo in mind. It may not be at the top of your priority list, but knowing what you want out of your trademark is vital. A good logo will not only include your brand name and be easier to register, but it will also give your business help by, among other things, attracting more attention, building your brand identity, and fostering brand loyalty.
The ideation stage that comes before protecting a logo is an animal in itself, but in general, you want to keep the following things in mind:
Keep your logo design simple, clean, and straightforward.
Create a logo that includes structure and balance to create positive connotations between your brand and the concept of strength.
Do your homework and make sure your logo is not too similar to other trademarked logos (see below).
Test your logo’s memorability by showing it to someone unfamiliar with your business and see if they can describe it and your business back to you.
Confirm that your logo will look good on multiple formats such as your website, letterhead, and business cards.
Imagine going through the trouble of designing a logo, all the time spent on creating something that fits your business and its brand just right, only to have the trademark application denied because it looks too similar to an existing, registered logo.
This is why searching for existing trademarks that bear a resemblance to your logo is so necessary. You can definitely search through registered logos and business names yourself if you want to. The USPTO allows you to use the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) to do your research.
This can be time-consuming, however. Luckily, there are a couple options available for people learning how to get a trademark for a logo.
Trademark Engine offers free trademark search services that make it easy to find out if there are any similar marks to yours. When you’re learning how to get your logo trademarked, you don’t always have time to check the USPTO database yourself, so our service is a convenient, one-stop page to search millions of live and pending trademarked logos.
It is important to note that a free search will only find exact matches of your name, slogan, or logo within the USPTO database. That’s fine if you’re looking to trademark your logo and have a very clear and specific understanding of what you’re looking for, but that’s not always the case. For better peace of mind, you’d want to take advantage of a comprehensive trademark search service.
A comprehensive trademark search looks at multiple databases and areas of inquiry, including international, federal, state, c ommon law, social media, and domain name databases. For logos, we scan all federal databases for any broad matches. At the end of the search, you receive a detailed report of any matches, which helps make your application more likely to be accepted.
Did you run a trademark search and find that the logo you want to trademark is good to go? Congratulations! Now you can start the trademark registration process.
Before we go into the process, we should point out one option you may know about. You might have come across the fact that just using your logo gives you rights to it. While that is true and the least expensive option, it comes with a pretty big downside. This option only gives you the rights to the logo in the geographical area it’s being used. Someone could use it elsewhere, and you wouldn’t be able to stop them.
The best way to protect your rights is to trademark your logo through the USPTO, which gives you the exclusive rights to your logo nationwide.
At first glance, the process of trademarking your logo can seem overly complex and time-consuming, necessitating an eye for details you may not be able to spare as you work on your business. Trademark Engine’s team can help alleviate the stress of your application filing through our trademark registration services. After a simple questionnaire, we will help create an official application for you and file it with the USPTO.
If you’re not already using your logo in commerce, part of the initial registration process includes an Intent to Use filing. This allows you to get your place in line for a registered trademark before you start selling your goods or services.
Note that part of this type of application includes showing a good faith intention to use your trademarked logo in commerce. Luckily, the only thing required to show good faith intention is a sworn statement from you included in the application.
Already filed an Intent to Use application and need to show the USPTO that you’re using your mark? It’s time to file a trademark statement of use. This completes the process and gives you the trademark rights to the logo you’re looking for.
You’ve registered your trademark with the USPTO, but your work is not done! Registered logos still need to be protected. As the trademark owner, you need to make sure that no one else is using it, and the best way to do that is through trademark monitoring.
Trademark Engine’s trademark monitoring service gives you security and peace of mind while allowing you to focus on your business. Our proprietary service scours the federal trademark database and finds any similar trademarks or uses of your logo. We also provide a monthly report and prioritize the top possible conflicts for you while giving you a one-click option for creating a cease and desist letter to send to the infringing party.
Ideally, once you put in your application for trademarking a logo you’d just sit back and wait for it to be approved. That may not be the case, however. If there are issues with the application, the USPTO’s examining attorney will send you an Office Action, an official letter from the USPTO detailing those issues and the actions you should take to remedy them and keep your application going through the system.
Trademark Engine’s trademark Office Action response service may be able to help you. Some Office Actions require legal action or arguments. In those cases, we are not able to provide help as we are not a law firm. However, depending on the nature of the Office Action you receive and the next steps, we can offer a helping hand. The best way to find out is by learning more about the service and the specific instances in which we can help.
Yes, you can put the ™ trademark symbol on your logo without registering. This is known as an unregistered trademark or a common law trademark. Note that common law trademarks offer limited protection, typically focused only on the geographical location where a trademarked logo is used.
Getting a logo trademark does not have to be an overly complicated process. With the right attention given to each step in the process, and with a little help from Trademark Engine where applicable, you can run smoothly through the process of protecting a logo while focusing on the important work of building your small business.
Join the thousands that have already protected their brand.
Trademark Engine is not a law firm and none of the information on this website constitutes or is intended to convey legal advice. General information about the law is not the same as advice about the application of the law in a particular factual or legal situation. Individual facts and circumstances as well as legal principles including but not limited to the ones referenced on this website can affect the outcome of any given situation.
Trademark Engine cannot and does not guarantee that an application will be approved by the USPTO, that a mark will be protected from infringement under common US trademark law, or that any ensuing litigation or dispute will lead to a favorable outcome. If you want or have an interest in obtaining legal advice with respect to a specific situation or set of circumstances, you should consult with the lawyer of your choice.