There are various ways in which to protect a logo, from registering it as a trademark to registering the copyright or design.
To register a logo makes sense as it becomes a valuable asset as you use it long term, and it helps reduce the risk of infringing on the rights of others. Logos come in many different shapes and sizes. For example, the famous Nike tick consists of just a pure image, whereas other logos might include text in a particular stylised font. The bull logo displayed in our header is a combination of words and graphical devices.
There are different ways to register a logo, and doing so will leave you with an asset that is part of your business, which can be sold or licensed to others. It is important to note that if you register a logo the registration will not necessarily protect words included in the design, so you may also wish to register a word separately. You can find out about how to register a logo design, and for help to prioritise between copyright, design and trademark protection of a logo, we recommend you submit an enquiry.
Factors to consider when registering a logo
Assuming you decide to proceed to register a logo as a trademark, there are a number of factors to consider, including in which countries to register. As trademarks are registered against specific trademark classes of goods and services it is important to assess the classes in which to register your mark.
While it is less expensive to register a logo in the UK, if your business is online, or otherwise international, it may make more sense to register the logo elsewhere too, such as by registering an EU trademark which protects you throughout Europe, An EU Trademark is a cost effective way to secure protection in 28 countries.
After filing your initial application to register a logo in the UK or EU, you can later extend your protection to other countries if desirable using the Madrid Protocol.
Once you have decided whether to begin with a UK or European application, and have considered your wider plans for the brand, we recommend a professional search of the logo and any wording it includes to determine whether there are any clear conflicts with existing registrations. We offer international searching once the initial evaluation is complete. As part of our assessment we will also consider whether your trademark meets the criteria for registration.
What happens once my trademark application is ready?
When drafting your trademark application to register a logo, we will use the information you supply about your business plans to describe how the logo will be used. As this determines the scope of your protection, it is important that you have a clear picture of the different goods and services which you will supply under the logo. A well drafted trademark application can have a significant impact on your legal rights, and may be the difference between adequate protection or a certificate which does little to support your business. As a firm of trademark lawyers, our team has the expertise necessary to help you register a logo effectively.
Once we have drafted your application form, and you have reviewed it to ensure it accurately reflects your plans we lodge it with the relevant trademark registry, where it is examined to determine whether it is sufficiently distinctive to function as a trademark, and meets the other criteria for registration. Most applications pass this stage without incident, and your trademark will then be advertised in a public journal so that the owners of existing trademarks can consider whether they feel it conflicts with their rights. If problems arise during the process we will explain the position and propose a way forwards, letting you know whether any further costs may arise so that you can make an informed decision. Although trademarks can hit problems of sorts, most of the applications we oversee proceed smoothly through to registration, and your certificate will follow shortly after the end of the advertisement period.
The whole process to register a logo trademark takes between 5 and 8 months depending on whether you are applying to register a logo in the UK or throughout the EU, and when sending your certificate we’ll also explain how to manage your registration, and keep you informed of deadlines so that you can renew your trademark promptly. It is important to use your logo in the way it was registered, or you may lose your rights. So, we provide you with a brand protection booklet so you can know what to do, if for example, your business develops a new variation on the design.
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