When you register a business logo, it becomes an asset to your business. Your business logo is a representation of your company's reputation and brand.

You should not underestimate the importance of your company logo; it forms part of your business's public image and brand. Most logos incorporate creative font patterns with the company name as well as an image or symbol. A perfect logo captures the essence and spirit of your company.

Registering Your Logo as a Trademark

Registering your logo as a trademark prevents others from using it for their own purposes. You can decide to register at the state level or at the federal level with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. You should note that registering with the USPTO offers broader coverage but is much more expensive than registering at the state level.

To do this, you should visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office or any of its libraries to perform a trademark search. You can also do this online by visiting USPTO.gov. A trademark search ensures that your logo or something very similar to it hasn't been registered already.

Reading through the website, especially in the "Design Search Code Manual," will help you understand the type of design to search for.

Once you've done this, you need to create descriptions of the products/services that the logo represents. These descriptions must be very specific and should clearly indicate the exact type of products being sold.

You are allowed to submit two kinds of registration to the trademark office; a design format or the standard character format. For logos, you'll use the design format and include pictures, numbers, and words in the design style specified.

Filing the Application

At this point, you are ready to file your application. You can do so online or at a USPTO office. Your application must include the fee and your design. If you submit your application online, you should receive a confirmation within a couple of weeks along with a serial number.

This serial number should be used in subsequent correspondence with the USPTO. The United States Patent and Trademark Office recommends that you check your registration status every three to four months from the date of filing.

Reasons for Registering Your Logo

In the U.S., you don't need to register a trademark or copyright your company's logo. Once you put down the original work on paper or digital media and use it to market your business, you automatically own the rights. However, registering a trademark affords you an extra layer of protection.

If another company uses the same logo or one very similar to it, you could lose your rights. When you register your logo as a trademark, you own the exclusive rights of use; however, if your business is a small one and expanding into new markets or states isn't on your to-do list, there is no need for trademark registration.

Applying for a Copyright

The main goal of a copyright is to protect original works such as:

  • Movies
  • Photography
  • Paintings
  • Songs
  • Choreography
  • Books
  • Other works that have been expressed in physical form

The United States Copyright Office states that copyrights protect artistic, musical, dramatic, literary, and certain kinds of intellectual works.

Your logo falls under intellectual property, and anyone who tries to steal and use it for their own purposes can be sued; however, you must first obtain copyright registration.

If you own a federally registered copyright, you control the way your intellectual property is distributed, published, used and presented to the public. Also, you prevent any other person from ever using it without your express permission.

If anyone tries to do so without express permission, they can be sued in a federal court because your logo has been copyrighted. To obtain a copyright for your logo, you can fill the standard form and submit the application manually or visit the U.S. Copyright Office website to commence e-filing of the copyright application.

You should note that an online application is the preferred option since it is more convenient and takes about eight months for processing. The processing time for manual application via paper forms is approximately 13 months.

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