How to Trademark a Logo

Can you register a trademark for your logo?

A well designed logo can mean so much to your business. It can embody not only what your product is, but also the way in which you conduct business. Perhaps your logo speaks to the character of your team. A distinctive logo can set you apart from your competitors. When consumers see your logo, they should be able to recognize that you are different from others selling similar goods or services. A trademark registration protects your logo and gives you advantages, from both offensive and defensive perspectives. Before filing, however, you should consider whether it makes sense to trademark your logo as a design mark or a word mark.

If you file a word mark application, then you’re really trying to protect the wording of your logo regardless of its design. No graphic elements can be included in a word mark application where the drawing is typed out in standard characters. So does it make more sense for you to register the wording alone or the logo with all its stylistic elements?

A logo is sometimes called a design mark in the trademark world. A design mark application involves certain things that a word mark application would not require. For example, you will need to submit a special form drawing as opposed to merely typing out the words.

If the visual and graphic design elements of the logo are worth protecting, a design mark application to trademark the logo

Does your logo include words or only a graphic design?

Your logo might consist of a graphic object only, or a combination of wording with a graphic object. If your logo includes wording, then you will need to make a strategic decision on which trademark applications to file. In particular, you might file for:

  1. graphic object alone;
  2. graphic design plus wording (composite mark); and/or
  3. wording alone.

These decisions get tougher when your budget is lower. An experienced IP attorney can prove to be a valuable resource in providing some guidance on where to prioritize your money and time in trademarking your logo.

What important decisions need to be made in trademarking a logo?

If you decide to file a design mark application, you will need to decide whether or not to include color in the applied-for mark. My general preference is to file in black-and-white and not claim any colors. This gives the trademark owner flexibility to choose any colors in actual usage, and to change colors in the future without affecting the trademark registration.

How much does it cost to trademark a logo?

As of the date of this post, our IP firm charges a flat rate of $900 per class of goods/services to file a trademark application, including the USPTO fee. Additional charges would apply for an ITU application that would require a subsequent Statement of Use, and for any refusals requiring a response.

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