If you’ve created a new and exciting logo, you may be wondering how to protect your newly created intellectual property. The USPTO does offer logo owners the power to protect them, however, logos cannot be patented. That said, logos can be registered with the USPTO as trademarks. Trademark law is the proper protection for a logo. We will discuss how you can protect your logo below.
How to Patent a Logo?
While patenting a logo is not possible because patent law does not protect logos, you can protect your logo by registering it as a trademark with the USPTO. Registering your logo with the trademark office as a trademark allows you to stop others from using your logo in a manner that confuses the public as to the source of goods or services.
I encourage you to learn the differences between patents and trademarks, which I wrote about in this article.
Said differently, registering your logo as a trademark with the USPTO allows the trademark owner to stop others from misusing his trademark or using it without his permission.
For example, if you own a trademark and another party uses your trademark and a competing product without your permission, you will be able to ask them to stop such use. If they continue their infringing use, you can bring a lawsuit against them in Federal District Court.
So, if you were wondering how to get a patent on a logo, you know that while you can’t patent a logo, you sure can protect it by registering it as a trademark.
You can register your logo as a trademark by following these steps:
- Choose a Logo
- Search the USPTO trademark Database for similar logos or trademarks
- No Match – If your search reveals no similar or exact logos matches to yours, proceed to the next step
- Match – If you search produces similar logos or trademarks that are already registered, you may want to choose a different logo to register
- No Match – If your search reveals no similar or exact logos matches to yours, proceed to the next step
- Prepare your trademark application
- Submit your online application & pay the required filing fees
Choosing a Logo
You need to choose a logo that represents your business. When choosing the right logo, you should look for words, images, and colors that represent your business and appeal to your customers.
Once you have an idea about the type of logo that you want, you can either create the logo yourself using many of the online tools that are available, or you can use a reputable online service that creates nice logos and have them create one for you.
Creating something that is appealing yet different from your competitors is the best way to stand out and attract new customers.
Once your logo is complete, move on to the next step.
Searching the USPTO Database
Once you’ve chosen a logo, you should search the USPTO trademark database to ensure that no one else has already registered a logo that’s the same as or similar to yours.
Similarly Registered Logo or Mark
If you find that someone has registered a logo that’s the same as or similar to yours, you’re better off making changes to your logo that would make it different enough from those that are registered so that the public doesn’t confuse your mark with any of the registered marks.
If you find that even after making changes to your logo it’s still similar to registered logos, you may want to just start off by making a new logo and registering the new one.
If you attempt to register a logo or trademark that’s the same as or similar to a logo that’s already been registered, the trademark office may reject your trademark application on the grounds of likelihood of confusion.
If your application is rejected on the grounds of likelihood of confusion, the trademark examiner is stating that allowing you to register your trademark and use it is likely to confuse your logo or trademark with an already registered logo or mark and therefore the trademark examiner is refusing to allow registration of your mark.
If you are faced with this situation, you can respond to the arguments made by the trademark examiner and show them why they are wrong and you are right or you can contact the owner of the trademark or logo that the patent examiner is claiming your mark is likely to cause confusion with and ask them to consent to allow the registration of your logo.
No Similarly Registered Mark or Logo
If your search does not turn up any same or similar marks that are registered, you can continue registering your logo by preparing and filing a trademark application.
If the patent examiner confirms that your logo is different from any other marks that are registered, the trademark examiner will grant your trademark application and your mark will be registered.
Preparing your Trademark Application
After you have chosen a logo or mark that is different from anything that’s already been registered at the trademark office, it’s time to prepare your trademark application.
You can visit the USPTO website and begin preparing your trademark application.
When preparing your trademark application, you should be ready to provide the following information:
- Name of applicant (Person or Business who owns the logo or mark)
- Address of applicant
- Entity Type that’s applying for a trademark
- Evidence of intent to use or actual use of your logo as a trademark
- Classifying the type of product or service you’re applying your trademark to
- Submit a specimen of the logo you’re registering as a trademark
- The date of the first use of your trademark in commerce
If you are able to answer these questions, you may be able to prepare your trademark application on your own. However, if you don’t understand these items or the application, you should hire a trademark attorney to assist you with the preparation and filing of your trademark application.
Also, there are numerous online services that will assist you with the preparation of your trademark application in exchange for a small fee that ranges from $70 to $450.
Submitting your Trademark Application & Paying Fees
Once you’ve prepared your application and you’ve provided the required to the trademark office, you should submit your trademark registration application. To do so, you must confirm that the information in your application is correct and pay the required registration fees.
Currently, it costs $225 to $400 per class of goods. The number of classes of goods that you must pay for depends on what you’re using your trademark for.
For example, if you want to use your logo on shoes and shirts, you may have to pay for 2 classes of goods. On the other hand, if you only want to use your logo on only shirts, you will only have to pay for 1 class of goods. So, the fee you pay depends on your situation.
How Much Does it Cost to Patent a Logo?
As we’ve previously stated, patenting a logo is not possible, however, owners of unique logos can protect them by registering them as a trademark with the USPTO.
Registering a trademark with the trademark office costs $225 to $400 per class of goods for which you’re using your logo.
Also, you should factor in any legal fees if you’ve hired an attorney to assist you with your trademark registration.
Benefits of Federal Trademark Registration
Registering a trademark with the USPTO offers the registrant many benefits, here are some of them:
- Discourages misuse of your logo. Registering your mark with the USPTO tells the public that you’ve taken the necessary legal steps to protect your logo, this reduces the likelihood that someone will misuse your trademark because they know that you may come after them for trademark infringement. Once you’ve federally registered your trademark, you can add the registered logo ® to tell everyone that you’ve federally registered your trademark.
- Enforce your trademark rights in federal courts. Registering a logo with the USPTO allows the logo or trademark owner to enforce his trademark rights in Federal District Court. For example, if someone misuses a trademark registrants logo or mark, the trademark owner can bring a lawsuit in the Federal District Court for trademark infringement against the party that infringed upon his trademark.
- Nationwide protection. Unlike registering a trademark with an individual state, federal registration allows the trademark owner to stop anyone from using his logo or mark on the same goods or services throughout the United States. For example, if you registered your logo or mark “Rebel” for shirts, you can stop anyone from using the same mark or logo on shirts throughout the United States.
- Ownership of your logo. Registering your logo with the USPTO serves as evidence that you own the logo you’re using on your products or services. After having registered your logo for 5 years, your logo and trademark rights become incontestable, meaning they are solidified making it very difficult for someone to prove that you don’t own the rights in the registered logo or mark.
- Prevents registration of confusingly similar logos. Federally registering your logo ensures that no one else registers a mark that is likely to cause confusion with your logo. Said simply, federal registration ensures that no other marks will be allowed registration if they are likely to cause the public to confuse them with your logo.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can a logo be trademarked?
Yes, a logo can be registered as a trademark. A logo can be trademarked regardless of whether it includes text. All you need is a logo that you use as an identifier for you or your business as the source of goods or services.
2. How can I protect my logo from being used by others?
You can protect your logo from being used by others by successfully registering it as a trademark with the USPTO. Federal registration allows you to bring lawsuits in federal court against anyone who misuses your trademark on similar goods or services.
3. Should I trademark my logo?
If you have a logo that your customers like and helps sell your product or services, you should protect it by registering it with the USPTO. Federal registration sends a message to others that you’ve taken legal steps to protect your logo and that you’re not afraid to go after those who use your logo without your permission.
4. Can I trademark my logo for free?
Unfortunately, no. To register your trademark and be eligible for protection, you cannot register your trademark for free. That said, if you’re using your trademark on goods or services, your mark or logo may be protected under common law. However, you won’t have nationwide protection. To obtain nationwide protection, you must register your trademark with the USPTO.
5. Can I use the registration symbol (r) on my logo?
You can use the registered symbol ® once you’ve successfully registered your trademark with the USPTO. The registered symbol indicates that a trademark is federally registered and protected.
How to Get a Patent For a Logo?
At this point, you should know that while you cannot obtain a patent on a logo, if you do have a logo that is valuable to you or your business and you want to protect it, you can do so by registering is as a trademark with the USPTO.
We often get asked how do you patent a logo, and we always have to explain that patenting a logo is not possible because patent law does not apply to logos or trademarks.
However, trademark registration is possible and registering a logo as a trademark does have many benefits that we have covered in this article. If you have any general questions or comments, please feel to leave them in the comments section below.