How to Trademark & Copyright a Logo or Name
If you’re a business owner, chances are you’ve considered the idea of trademarking your company’s name or logo. Trademarks protect consumers from confusing and misleading products, and they offer many other benefits as well. However, if you’ve never dealt with trademarks before or aren’t sure where, to begin with, them, this article will help explain the process in detail.
Trademark vs. Copyright
- What is a trademark?
A trademark is a word, symbol, or design that identifies and distinguishes the goods/services of one company from those of others. It can be used to identify products on store shelves, logos on marketing materials, and even phrases like “the best burger in town.” Trademark laws are designed to protect your brand against copycats who might try to steal your idea by using the same name for their own product.
- What is copyright?
Copyright law protects original creative works such as poems, novels, fine art paintings, and music recordings from being copied without permission from the author or artist. When someone creates something new that’s original enough to qualify as an “original work,” then it becomes protected under U.S. law–and if you don’t get permission first then anyone else can use it without paying royalties (or at least giving credit).
The Difference Between Trademark and Copyright
Trademark and copyright are two terms that get used interchangeably in the context of branding, but they’re not exactly interchangeable. Trademark law protects the name, symbol, or design of a product or service. Copyright protects original works of authorship such as literary, dramatic, and musical compositions; computer programs; choreographic works; pictorial illustrations; photographs; maps, charts, and geometrical forms (including tables); sculptures in three-dimensional form; motion pictures and other audiovisual works including any downward transfer of rights to reproduce said work.
Copyright does not protect names, short phrases, or slogans unless they are being used as part of some wider description such as: “The Name Company”; “The Pen Company” etc., which would fall under trademark law because there would be no substantial similarity between them (and therefore no confusion).
How to Trademark a Logo or Name
- Choose the right examiner: The first step in trademarking your logo or name is choosing an examiner. An examiner will be responsible for examining your application and issuing a notice of allowance, if necessary. If you apply through us, we will assign one of our experienced trademark attorneys as your examiner.
- File an application with USPTO: Once you have chosen an examiner, it’s time to file your application with the USPTO. You’ll need to pay $275 per class (for example, if you’re applying for protection under Section 2(a)(1) covering goods) and submit three copies of each drawing (or another image). If there are no drawings available online on our site then email us at [email protected] along with photos showing how they look when applied to products/services will suffice! We’ll review them within two business days after receiving all required documents; if approved then payment must be made within 10 days from the date stamped by us on the receipt letter sent out after reviewing drawings which contain a signature line below the signature line stating name “Trademark Examiner” followed by the title “TM Examiner,” country where company located.”
Step 1. Choose a Trademark Examiner and Registered Agent
When choosing a trademarking examiners, you should look for someone who is familiar with your business. A good examiner will know the industry in which he or she is working, and will have experience dealing with similar companies.
You also need to make sure that the registered agent you choose is local to you. The registered agent must be familiar with your company’s location on file before signing up as their representative–this ensures they’ll be able to answer questions regarding changes in your business address or other changes in their own address information when necessary.
Step 2. Prepare the Trademark Application.
- Write the Trademarking Application Form and file it with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO). You can either do this yourself or hire a lawyer to help you prepare your trademark application, but make sure to consult an attorney before doing so if you’re unsure about what should go into your trademark application package or how to fill out any forms on their website.
- Pay the filing fee for your application with a check or money order made payable to “USPTO.” The filing fee is relatively low–$485 per class of goods and services plus another $275 if there are multiple classes (for example, if your logo is used on clothing). This amount includes all associated costs like search fees and appraisals; so if you need more than one class of goods/services then it may be worth paying more upfront rather than waiting until after receiving notice that we’ve accepted your request and then paying again later when needed!
Step 4. Pay Fees to File Your Application
If you file an application for a trademark, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will issue an “intent to use” letter. This means that your company can begin using its mark on products or services–but only within 14 months of receiving the notice of allowance. If you want to keep using it after that time period has passed, you must apply again through regular channels (see Step 5 below).
The fees charged by the USPTO vary depending on what kind of mark you’re applying for:
- A word mark costs $275 per class; this includes names such as Apple, Nike, and Google.
- An image/color combination has three classes: one each for color alone (Class 25), text only (Class 26), or both text and color together at once (Class 27). Each class costs $350 total if filed within 12 months after the publication date; it’s $450 total if filed outside 12 months after the publication date unless specifically requested by the applicant before the filing date arrives.*
Step 5. Respond to Office Actions and Waiting Periods
Once you’ve filed your application and received a Notice of Allowance, you will be notified by the Trademark Office that a copy of your mark has been placed in the “Office Actions” database. This is where your trademark registration begins.
The next step is to respond to office actions and wait for final action on your application before proceeding with filing fees or abandonment (if necessary). If you don’t respond within six months, then your application will be abandoned.
As you can see, the process of trademarking a logo or name is relatively easy. It all starts with choosing a trademark examiner and registering your company’s name at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Then, you will need to prepare an application for registration of your mark in order to officially claim ownership over it—whether that’s for business purposes or personal ones!
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