If you’re a business owner, you may have heard that you need to trademark or copyright your logo. You also may be confused by both protections. Which does what? Do I really need it? How much is it? How will it protect me? I know, you have probably have a million questions. In this post, I will be answering which one you need for a logo and why.
If you are not sure what the differences are between a trademark and a copyright, stop reading this right now and go read my blog post titled, Copyright v. Trademark – What’s the Difference? If you don’t know the differences, then this post may not make much sense to you. I will be explaining the differences a bit, but you should definitely go read my previous post.
Alright, so you’ve read my previous post explaining the differences, and you know that a copyright protects creative works. You also know that a trademark protects branding. So which one do you need for your logo? You may qualify for both!
Because a logo identifies your brand, you will qualify for trademark protection. However, you will want to make sure that your logo is truly unique. The best way to ensure uniqueness is to find a true logo designer. Most logos purchased on Etsy, Fiverr, etc. are mass produced and don’t qualify for trademark protection since there are so many similar logos. You will want something unique, preferably hand-drawn. Once you have a unique logo that identifies your brand, you are eligible for trademark protection.
But should you register your logo for a trademark? It depends! I typically tell my clients that if they have plenty of money, then yes, they should file for a trademark on their logo. However, for most small business owners, they do not have plenty of money. If that’s the case for you, then I would not worry about trademarking your logo until you have a registered trademark on your brand name. Once you have a registered trademark for your brand name, then it may be time to consider registering your logo.
If you read my previous post about the differences of a copyright and a trademark, then you know that a copyright covers creative works. This does cover logos, as long as there is enough creative work. Again, your logo will not qualify for copyright protection if it is mass produced. When working with a logo designer, you will want to let them know that you are wanting to pursue copyright protection for your logo. Most designers are aware of what constitutes copyrightable material, so if you inform them of your intentions, they should be able to provide you with a logo that is copyrightable.
This brings up another issue – who owns the copyright? According to copyright laws, the author of the work owns the copyright. Unless your logo designer is your actual employee, you will not own the rights to the copyright. BUT, you can negotiate with your designer to provide you with an assignment in order for you to own the rights. If your designer does not want to give up the rights, then you should ask them if they will be enforcing the rights if someone infringes on the logo. If they do agree to pursue infringers, then you may not need the copyright in your name. If your designer provides you with the rights, you should file it ASAP! The government fee for a trademark application is only $55, so it’s definitely worth filing ASAP!
If you need a logo or just want something fresh, check out these designers! They provide a unique logo for every client they work with!
Salma Sheriff - http://www.salmasheriff.com/portfolio/
Brooke Banta - https://leeloudesigns.com/portfolio/
Cassidy Phillips - https://foxtrotbranding.com
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