Once you’ve chosen a logo for your business, product, or service, it will be beneficial to secure the trademark rights to that logo. A trademark is a symbol, design, phrase, or other device used by a person or an entity to distinguish itself in the marketplace. A trademark is your brand, so it will be important to protect that brand from competitors.
The trademarking process isn’t difficult, but it can be time consuming and quite frustrating. It is always best to solicit the help of a trademark attorney when navigating these waters. Here is an idea of what you can expect when trademarking your logo in the United States:
Conduct a Trademark Search
Before you start the process, it will be necessary to ensure that no one else is using your logo (or a logo that is extremely similar to yours). In order to do this, a trademark search must be executed. If the logo already exists, you could be infringing on the copyright to that design. While you can conduct your own search, it is always recommended to hire an attorney who has a firm understanding of how the search criteria works, and who has the expertise to analyze the results of the search.
Securing the Trademark
Once your search is complete and you’ve determined that no one else is currently using your logo, you can move on to securing the trademark for yourself. There are several ways that you can do this. First, you can simply begin using your logo in advertising and printed materials. However, the use of your logo only grants you limited rights.
If you’re only planning on using your logo within a single state, you can apply for a trademark with the office of the Secretary of State in that particular state or commonwealth. If you use this method, you won’t be protected if you expand your business, however.
In order to secure national trademark rights to your logo and guarantee maximum protection, you should file an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Once approved, you’ll have the exclusive rights to use your logo in all 50 states. This process can cost around $500 if you do it yourself, or it can cost up to $2,000 (or more) if you work with an attorney.
Set up a Trademark Watch
Once you’ve gone through the trouble and expense of securing your trademark, you’ll want to be sure that you’re protecting that trademark. You can set up a trademark watch through a third party website recommended by your trademark attorney. A trademark watch will alert you when someone starts using a logo that is similar to yours. If someone should infringe on your trademark, your attorney can send a cease and desist letter, or if necessary, pursue legal action.
An Important Note About Trademarking
If you’re interested in securing trademark rights for your logo, always seek the advice of an attorney. The NetMen Corp does not offer legal advice, nor are we experts in the area of trademark laws, rules, and regulations. The best way to protect your logo, your trademark, and your business, is to work with a legal professional who is experienced in this type of business law.
About The Author: Ignacio Galarraga is CEO of The Netmen Corp.