While mostly every brand has a logo, a lot of brands forego actually taking the step to trademark their logo. This is particularly the case with small business, who often forget this step or just don’t see the need to do so. This can be a huge mistake, and can prove costly if another rival business opens nearby and steals your logo. IF this is the case, and you have failed to trademark your logo, then you will no recourse if this occurs. This is just one reasons as to why it is so important to trademark any logos that are created for your brand. With that in mind, here’s how to navigate the trademarking process for a brand logo.
Decide What Type of Trademark You Need
First things first, you need to read up on different types of trademarks and see what makes sense for your brand. If you are only doing local business, then you might be ok with using your logo with impunity. For example, if you run a physical therapy practice, may be able to trademark your physical therapy logo without actually filing any paperwork or paying a fee. This is because the law states that if a product or service is sold with a logo on it, then that logo automatically belongs to the business. That being said, it is not legally protected under any state or federal authority, and if you are looking to expand your business, you may want to opt for a paid trademark.
Register with the Trademark Electric Search System
Before actually filing a trademark, you are going to want to search the most comprehensive government database on the matter, the Trademark Electric Search System. The Trademark Electric Search System allows you to search for existing trademarks, and can help you to make sure that your logo is not in use elsewhere. If the logo is likely to be confused with another logo, and is in a similar industry, then you will not be able to register it. To bring back the example of a physical therapy practice, if the logo of your practice looks similar to the logo of another physical therapy practice, then it will likely be rejected. AS such, make sure to research the competition, both regional, statewide, and national, to make sure that this does not occur.
Once you are able to confirm that your logo trademark is unique and cannot be confused with another logo, then it is time to submit your application. The commercial example is called a ‘specimen,’ and you need to demonstrate your logo used in the context of a monetary exchange. If you’re a physical therapy practice, you can show off your logo on any physical therapy equipment or massage tables that are in active use in your practice. Once you are able to do this, and there are no errors in your application, your trademark for your logo will be approved and you can officially use your logo on any business-related items. Do keep in mind that you will have to renew your trademark on your logo every five years, and you’ll never lose the rights to your business logo.