5 Steps For Properly Protecting Your Brand Identity
Having a unique logo created for your company is an exciting moment that should be celebrated. However, you should hold the champagne bottles for now. In order for it to become your official logo, you’re going to need to file for a trademark. This can be a complicated process, which is why you need to understand every step.
1. Do You Need To Trademark Your Designs?
If you’re looking to lead your business to new heights, you’re probably spending quite a bit of money on the latest marketing trends and methods. This probably includes investing some funds into a proper design that will symbolize your company. Many business managers aren’t yet aware of the effect a stunning logo can have on their brand awareness. It’s a visual aid that can catapult your brand to a household name if done right.
With so much money invested into something this crucial, you will want to protect it. You don’t necessarily need to protect your brand logo with a trademark, but the added protection can be extremely beneficial to your legitimacy as a business and it can ease your worries late at night. There are many malicious actors that would take your hard work if they were given a chance.
In countries like the United States, your logo is immediately protected to a degree. Things like Common law help protect brand logos as soon as they are put to use by the company that created them. This can be a good start that prevents thieves from stealing the design, but it won’t stop copycat companies from claiming that they came up with it first.
2. What Does It Actually Protect?
There are some misconceptions about what trademarking can actually protect. Most people think that they strictly cover symbols and logo designs, but it goes much further than that. The purpose of a trademark is to distinguish the identity of a brand in the market. It can include anything from words and phrases to symbols and designs. Combinations of all of these things count as well. The most common elements a business might trademark are logo designs, company slogan, and business names.
When you file for the trademarking process, you’re basically protecting your brand’s logo, but you also get the added benefits of copyrighting your design and everything that is present on your logo is yours. Keep in mind that copyright is only really worthwhile if you plan on using it for promotional products and print materials
3. How Do You Actually Trademark Something?
First things first, you’re going to need a finished logo. Once your designer has completed his or her mission, you will want to trademark that product. Conduct a trademark search in order to see if anyone already has something similar designed in their portfolio. If not, you’re in luck. Your logo is on its way to becoming your official trademark. It’s time to apply for the actual trademark process. Filing for a trademark costs you about two hundred dollars at the USPTO website and it’s considered a pretty sound investment.
The application itself is a bit time-consuming. There are hundreds of thousands of applications each day and the patent office needs to log each and every single one of them. This could mean waiting a little while before everything is official. You will provide them with every necessary detail regarding your business so that they can make a thorough file about you.
Once the application is complete, all you have to do is wait. The approval process could take up to five months to be finished, which means you’re going to have to be patient.
4. What Happens If You Don’t Trademark?
You’re probably familiar with the many horror stories that follow logo designs. Your designer created a brilliant logo that goes well with your product and you’re thinking of expanding your business into different markets. You probably spent a great deal of money to get the perfect design and you’re pretty satisfied with the result. A couple of months after spreading information about your franchise you receive a letter in the mail. It’s about a lawsuit regarding your company. A competitor claims that your logo closely resembles one of their own and they’re taking you to court over stealing their trademark. Since you didn’t trademark your design there’s no way to prove if they stole it from you or when that might have occurred. This is something you will want to avoid unless you like dealing with regular lawsuits.
Even if your logo is protected by a trademark, you might be hit by lawsuits from companies that don’t count on you fighting back. It would be wise to consider counsel from legal experts to resolve these disputes without losing your rights. Many lawyers specialize in patent and trademark laws and they will do their best to protect the interests of your company.
5. When Should You Trademark Your Design?
If you’ve chosen to trademark your design, you’re probably wondering when the best time to do it might be. For obvious reasons, you can’t trademark your logo or design before it’s actually finished. It’s recommended that you do it right after the designer has put the finishing touches and it’s actually complete. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to do it in this timeframe because incorporating your logo into a business strategy takes time. You might want to make small changes every once in a while until you’re absolutely sure that it’s ready to be used in promotions.
The rule of thumb is that you should do it sooner rather than later. There might be a backlog at the United States Patent and Trademark Office and other companies might be looking into something similar. Time is of the essence and you should make it your priority to be the first in line.
Businesses around the world spend hundreds of thousands of dollars protecting their brand. Things like logos and slogans are a crucial part of marketing and you have to protect them in every way possible. This includes opting for the legal route. If you follow this step by step process, you’re going to end up with a trademarked logo that nobody is going to be able to steal.