Everything You Need to Know About Logo Trademark
Coming up with a business idea, and developing a brand identity is no easy feat. It costs a significant amount of time and money to establish a unique and distinct image of your company in the market. Naturally, anyone would feel compelled to hold the integrity of what they’ve built from looming risks.
You can guard your intellectual property by learning how to trademark a logo and everything that comes with the process. Regardless if it’s a million-dollar idea or not, you can learn how to protect your brand image with the help of this guide.
This article will tackle the following matters:
What is a trademark?
As defined by business.gov.au, “a trade mark protects a particular type of intellectual property (IP). It can be a unique symbol, word(s), sound, number, image or scent used to represent a business or its products.”
Registration, as described by the World Intellectual Property Organization, “provides legal certainty and reinforces the position of the right holder, for example, in case of litigation.”
In simpler terms, a trademark gives your brand identity legal protection from people who may imitate it. It is commonly confused with copyrights, but here’s a quick distinction of the two:
- Copyright is for intellectual and literary works.
- Trademark is for commercial graphics, names, logos, and the like.
- Technically, you can apply a logo for both copyright and trademark protection since logos often depict art. Trademarks, however, keep brand marks and names from unauthorized by other brands.
Should I Trademark My logo?
You might be wondering whether or not you should commit to this legal proceeding for your brand. Here are some common FAQs to decide
Cost – The average cost of this process ranges from $250 to $400. This amount covers application and attorney fees.
When to register – Generally, startups and small businesses are advised to trademark their brand once it is stable and has grown its value.
Average duration – The process may take three to four months to reach a conclusion. Officials may take three to four months to examine your application.
In any case of an adverse examination report, applicants have 15 months to resolve the issue/s.
Risks of not trademarking – Not trademarking your logo may lead to problems when a brand comes out with a similar-looking design as yours. This may confuse audiences and water down the impact of your visual identity. Generally speaking, it protects all the hard work you’ve done to build a brand.
How to trademark a logo
Start guarding your intellectual property by registering for a trademark. It is an asset that gives you the right to use, license, and put it up for sale. In this section, we will discuss the steps you need to take to file a trademark application.
Step #1: Be eligible
In order to apply, governments have a set of rules for applicants. You need to accomplish the following bullet points to proceed:
- Apply as an individual business owner apart from your business name.
- Be an individual, company, incorporated association, or a combination.
- Have an intent to use or already use the trademark.
Step #2: Check for availability
Conduct searches with the help of the Global Brand Database. It has millions of brands recorded from 55 national and international collections that you can search by text or image. There are filters that help you find results according to dates, class, country, numbers, names, and brand.
Depending on where you live, there are also search tools from intellectual property authorities that you can use.
For example, IP Australia has a tool called the Australian Trade Marks Search System. The search tool finds existing trademarks and its owner. It has a filter option that can narrow your search. You can search by certification, collective, defensive types, or the years a particular trademark was active, among others.
Step #3: Fill out the form
Governments have a dedicated website or application systems for online application. US citizens can fill in a form from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). You could also access the TEAS tutorial for step-by-step instructions on filing.
For Australian brands, there are three ways that you can pass an application. You may have a go at it alone as some of the options have educational guides. However, you may also opt to work with a lawyer to keep you in check. Here are the following options:
TM Headstart – The pre-application service assesses your application before you formally submit it. For a fee, the service shines a light on the potential issues your application may encounter so you may prevent them before you continue with your application.
Online services – This is the standard online application process. You can use this tool for filling, renewing, amending, and other activities related to intellectual property.
Trade Mark Assist – With the aid of a virtual assistant, the educational tool lets you explore other existing trademarks and identify goods and services to protect.
Step #4: Outcome
You may start expecting results after three to four months. Authorities will notify applicants through online services in writing. Some governments also let applicants access a database of application status.
After this, it takes another two months to keep your trademark open to the opposition where a third party can challenge your application.
Once this period has passed without challenge, your trademark is officially registered.
This legal process comes with complex requirements that you can avoid. Read about those mistakes and the ways you can prevent them down below.
Only searching for logos – Most people overlook tag lines and company names, which are enforceable trademarks. Always make sure you double-check if someone has the same or similar tagline as you to prevent issues.
Registering a logo design that isn’t adaptive – This process takes time, and financial resources to accomplish, which may all go down the drain should you choose to redesign your logo in the future. The trademark only protects that logo version that you had at the time of registration. Make sure that you have a good logo design that you are confident in before registering it.
Forgetting to check on your application – Monitoring your application for progress or issues flagged by officials should be made every three months after filing. You want to respond to the problems as fast as possible to prevent delays.
Additionally, failing to respond to issues may lead the office to either cancel or abandon your application. You may reinstate your application. However, it will come with additional costs.
Not renewing a trademark – For Australia and the US, the logo stays protected for up to 10 years. Applying for renewal can be done 12 months before the renewal date or six months after. However, applicants must pay a late fee after the due date.
Wondering where you can get a great logo that you won’t regret registering?
DesignCrowd is a platform where you can get a custom logo for your business. You can run a logo design contest and receive a collection of bids from international designers. This is a quick way for you to find a versatile design that is worthy of being your trademark.
Another option that you can take is to generate a logo. Try BrandCrowd, one of the leading online logo makers today. Browse a library of designs for various niches such as pharmacy logos, tech logos, fashion logos, and more. You’ll be ready to download your design in minutes.