Do I Need to Trademark My Logo?

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Do I need to trademark my logo?

When asking this question, you’ll want to consider the benefits it could have for your business.

Any time you see a company logo followed by a “TM” or “R”, it means the logo has been trademarked.

Having the sole legal right to use and amend a logo as needed can significantly benefit small and large businesses.

Instead of asking should I trademark my logo, think about the benefits of doing so.

Although it can be a lengthy process, it is well worth the investment, primarily to protect your brand identity.

Let’s review some of the most commonly known benefits of following through with trademarking a logo.

1. Reducing Burden of Proof

When you go through the registration process, you’ll prove that your logo is used for commerce related to your business.

If another company, or direct competitor, uses the same content, you’ll have legal protections.

The amount of evidence you will need to prove your logo has been used by your business is significantly less.

On the other hand, your competitor will need to prove the logo is used in connection with their goods before you.

The burden of proof they will have to provide can often be challenging and expensive to satisfy.

2. Eliminating Similarities

Before you can trademark a logo, you will have to do a significant amount of research.

In this research, you’ll be able to determine whether another business is using a similar design.

By doing so, you can ensure that you are not infringing on the trademarking rights of another company, avoiding legal concerns.

Without going through the research process, you could find yourself in a precarious situation.

Businesses using similar content might have to pay damages to the registered owner and create a new brand identity.

There is also a high likelihood you’ll lose customers, as the switch in branding can cause confusion.

3. Heightened Prestige

As discussed earlier, when a logo is trademarked, you’re assigned a unique symbol known as ®.

This symbol in itself can help build your brand image, showing that you have heightened prestige over your competitors.

When customers see a company with a trademarked logo, it helps build brand trust and encourage sales.

Also, it helps make your company look more professional concerning B2B transactions.

Your trademark symbol will appear on packaging, letterheads, and internal communications.

4. International Registration

Often, large businesses look to diversify their reach and gain customers internationally.

When you go through the process of obtaining federal trademark registration, international applications are much more straightforward.

Other regulating authorities will see that you have been vetted and approved by the USPTO, proving your business’ worth.

It’s one of the first steps that every large business should consider before taking their practices overseas.

Also, with international registration, you are afforded many of the same protections as with U.S.-based registration.

It can be confusing trying to decide between copyrighting or trademarking items related to your business.

At their core, copyrights and trademarks do the same thing—protect something associated with your brand.

Although they can be similar, there can also be benefits to trademarking and copyrighting your work.

Trademarking helps protect your creation in ways that copyright doesn’t, and vice versa.

It is commonly found in marketing and advertising, as you can protect what your advertisement says and how it is written.

Where these protections differ the most is in terms of the type of intellectual property they cover and protect.

When you opt to copyright something associated with your brand, you often use it for creative purposes.

For example, you could be copyrighting specific character names, fictional words, songs, or other creations.

In most cases, businesses opt for copyright if something doesn’t exist for the sole purpose of using it commercially.

Copyright is one of the most important types of protection for creative individuals crafting unique products.

For example, if you’ve made a song or written a novel that you want to have the exclusive rights to, you copyright it.

Regarding logos, copyright can apply to the artwork used to craft the image.

What Is a Trademark?

On the other hand, trademarking is helpful for items that exist for the sole purpose of commercial use.

For example, you can trademark logos, brand names, slogans, and taglines.

With that said, when you apply for a trademark, you will have to prove that the trademarked item is being used commercially.

Otherwise, your application to attach a mark to your brand could be rejected, allowing anyone else to use your content.

We recommend that you consider using a trademark to protect a logo, especially as it is the face of your brand.

You will find that it’s easy to prove your logo is affixed to your company for commerce, as it will be on your packaging and letterheads.

do i need to trademark my logo asap

What Do Trademarks Protect?

Before answering, “Should I trademark my logo?” it’s essential to consider the things it protects.

The simplest explanation is that a trademark shows that you have ownership over a type of intellectual property.

However, having a registered trademark isn’t necessary but is highly recommended.

Businesses that design a logo and use it for commerce can do so without registering the trademark.

In some instances, simply using the design is proof that you have ownership and that another company cannot use it.

Still, registering your trademark gives you a significant amount of protection, especially in legal situations.

Imagine you’ve designed a logo that you want to use on an upcoming line of shampoo that you will be selling.

Between your design date and release date, another company in the same industry uses a similar design.

In this instance, you wouldn’t have any legal backing to prove you owned the trademarked logo before your competitor.

By opting to register your trademark, you will have strengthened rights and protections.

Once you’ve developed a logo and use it for business purposes, competitors can’t use your trademarked logo.

When asking, “Can you trademark a logo?” trademarking your business name is another step to consider.

By doing so, you’ll have the exclusive right to use your business name throughout the United States.

As long as it’s directly connected to the goods and services you are offering, you will be legally covered.

If you encounter another company using your business name, you could pursue a lawsuit in federal court.

There are several strong protections you are guaranteed when you opt to trademark your business name and logo.

Some of the most important protections to consider include:

  • Alleged Infringement

By having a trademarked business name or logo, you can take legal action against suspected trademark infringement.

  • Public Notification

With registration, the public is notified of your trademark.

  • Ownership and Rights

Trademark registration provides your business with exclusive ownership and rights to use the business name for goods and services.

  • International Trademarks

By owning a mark, you will find that being granted international trademarks will be more straightforward.

  • Imported Goods

If you own a trademark, you can prevent infringing foreign goods from being imported.

Can I Put TM on My Logo Without Registering?

When business owners ask, “Can you trademark a logo?” they often inquire about the trademarking symbol they will receive.

You’ve likely noticed some companies either have a “TM” or “R” beside their logo.

What the average customer doesn’t realize is that these two logos have significantly different meanings.

The TM Symbol

When trademarking a logo, some businesses opt to use “TM” instead of “R”.

This identifier can often be preferred, especially if you haven’t registered your trademark yet.

With that said, absolutely any business with a logo they believe should be trademarked can use this symbol to their advantage.

“TM” means that you are using an unregistered trademark, but it still carries some gravitas.

With this symbol, unknowing individuals will assume your logo is registered, so they cannot use it.

It can help reduce overhead costs, as you won’t have to pay for mark registration.

This identifier is vital for small businesses on a tight budget.

You’ll be able to deter competitors from using your logo by affixing the unregistered trademark logo to your brand.

Once you register your imagery, you can then switch to “R”.

The “R” Symbol

Although registering is the preferred method for trademarking a logo, it can be a lengthy and costly process.

When granted the legal protections a registered mark offers, you will want to use the “R” symbol.

Its meaning is that a specific phrase or logo is assigned to a product or service and cannot be used elsewhere.

The owner or licensee will be granted the opportunity to use the identifier along with their products.

However, it can only be used by those who own valid trademark registration.

When asking, “Do I need to trademark my logo?” the most common answer is that you should consider it.

Going through the process of registering a logo offers legal protections and improves your brand’s standing.

To help avoid the likelihood of lawsuits and to ensure you stand out in your industry, always consider trademarking.

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