Updated November 26, 2020:

Need to know how to trademark a name and logo? A trademark is anything that relates your company’s services to the general public, and a logo is any picture that represents your company. The process to trademark a company name or logo can be a little detailed.

What is a trademark?

Protected under federal law, and insured against theft by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (also known as the USPTO), trademarks help companies define their ‘intellectual property’ against outside companies/agencies. Trademarks can be a variety of things, whether they are products, services, packaging, logos, slogans—or even a sound or a smell. As long as it identifies the product or service of a particular company or business, it is a trademark. A trademark can give the owner an exclusive right to use the registered mark in a designated industry.

Trademark registration of company name

To establish a company name as a trademark is called a ‘standard character mark.’ This protection only applies to the name of the company and does not shield against other companies using similar coloring, fonts, or styling. The only thing registering a company name does is protect the name itself from use by other companies.

Advantage of trademark for a company name

It is quite useful registering a company name because it prevents other businesses from using it or anything that might be considered too similar. Your company name is protected from other companies despite whatever styling they may choose to use, or how they go about presenting it to the public. Regardless of how you display your name, the word order you register is protected.

If you register your company’s name, you get legal recourse should anyone choose to infringe upon its name, no matter how they do it. Registering the name is thus the first step toward protecting your company’s logo, too. If you have to choose which one to protect, it is highly recommended you register the name because it is the biggest asset to you. Doing so will, therefore, get you the most protection.

If you register a logo for a trademark, you are consequently protecting the shape, special orientation, style, and, in some cases, the colors in the logo. It’s up to you, but the company name can be a part of the logo if you choose. Keep in mind that registering a logo only protects you from other people who would want to use it or something similar but will not in any way protect you from someone wanting to use your company name. Some people have hoped to register both their name and their logo by putting their company name in their logo. This does not work. The logo, despite whatever may go into it, is just an image. The image, then, is the only thing protected in registering a logo.

Advantage of trademark for a company name

When a company’s logo is registered, there is always the possibility that something similar has come before. Small businesses are the majority of companies working through trademark registration at any time because they have less brand recognition than larger company’s and businesses. Going through the process can ensure them that their logo and trademark are unique, which will help the brand themselves before and during future endeavors.

Anyone applying for trademark registration for their business must do each element separately (be it its name, logo, slogan, or design). It actually doesn’t take long—90 minutes, at most, online.

The first thing you need to do is make sure no other company has used what you want to register before. The following search systems will be used:

This must be done to ensure that no other company has used your mark for similar goods or services. Generally, U.S. trademark protection is given to the first company to use that particular mark in that particular geographic location. If your mark is already registered with another company, your application will be denied (even if you were the person to create the mark in the first place).

After registration has taken place, the next step is to write up what kind of goods and services your company offers, while also providing your business name and logo so that they may all be searched by the USPTO together to make sure that there aren’t any other companies using anything similar in the future.

The final step is to register with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office at www.uspto.gov and finish the registration form. Once you’re finished, the USPTO will give you a confirmation number and number to keep track of their progress. It typically takes around six months for an application to be fully reviewed.

If you need help learning more about how to trademark a name and logo, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.