Everything you need to know about trademarking a logo

Businesses  put a lot of efforts in designing their brand’s logo that represents their brand perfectly to the public. A logo creates a visual sign that represents your brand’s identity and help consumers in differentiating your products from others. It grabs attention of the consumers and makes a strong first impression in the minds of consumers. Therefore, it is important to register your brand logo as a trademark. It protects the brand value from being infringed by your competitors.

Here is everything you need to know about trade marking your brand’s logo.

What is a trademark?

Let’s understand the meaning of a trademark first. A trademark is a symbol, word(s), sign, or phrase which represents a business or its products and is capable of differentiating its products from others. A trademark sets apart your business from the competitors. To indicate that a trademark rights have been claimed by the businesses, three symbols are commonly used: (i) TM is used for logo or symbol or phrase claimed as a trademark; (ii) Capital R in a circle stands for registered trademark; (iii) SM stands for service mark logo, used by companies or businesses that render/offer services.

Why trademarking a logo is important?

It is not mandatory to trademark your logo but it has certain advantages that will protect your intellectual right and make your brand’s identity strong. Registering a trademark has following benefits –

  • The exclusive legal right to use the registered trademark. Trademarking your logo will entitle you to use that logo in your products. You can lawfully claim it as your own.
  • It protects your trademark legally. You can sue anyone who uses your trademark without your consent. It allows you to take legal action against trademark infringement.
  • You can claim for damages which may arise due to misappropriate use of your trademark.
  • You can register your trademark in foreign countries. This will help you in expanding your business and make your products reach to the international markets.
  • You can stop the import of foreign goods that may cause trademark infringement.

What makes a logo strong for trademarking?

A logo must be unique to its creator. In simple words, you cannot get trademark for simply using generic shapes or icons in your logo. A logo should be distinctive, unique, artistic and speak for itself while representing a brand. A strong logo could be made up of words or images that are unquestionably unique to their brands.

What makes a trademark weak?

Trademarks that simply define a product in generic term or are common to trade make the trademark weak. These trademarks are not protected and cannot be registered as they lack strong public recognition. Weak trademarks are either common to trade or descriptive; they merely describe brand’s goods and/or services.

How to Trademark your business logo?

After learning all the basics of a trademark, now we can move forward towards the steps of trademarking a logo. Let’s start with the process of trademark registration in India

  1. Logo Designing – Create your business logo first for getting it trademarked. You can choose various color combinations, shapes, patterns, words, symbols, to make your logo design unique. Make your logo distinct from others by not taking general shapes or icons
  2. Carry out a trademark search – By this step, you have finished with designing your business logo and have come up with the final design. Now, you need to ensure that if it is available for registration. This step is very important as here you will get to know that your business logo is unique or not. Conducting a search will help you in determining that your logo is not same or similar to any other existing brand or business. Make sure that your business logo is exclusive; otherwise your trademark application will get rejected. You can conduct the search online or can hire best trademark lawyers India as they can provide a detailed and structured advisory along with their recommendations.
  3. Apply for a trademark – Start the application process once you are assured that your business logo is distinct, no one has the same or similar trademark. You need to mention all details in the application. These details include description of mark, goods and services, class of goods and services, trademark use status, owner’s information and contact information. Do not forget to upload file of your logo along with the application. Pay the registration fees and wait for the approval.
  4. Secure your rights – If your logo is approved or qualified, the trademark office will issue it for publication. if it is rejected, the trademark office will notify the reasons which may include generic logo, similar logo, etc. and provide time to respond to the objections. A hearing may also be listed. One the objections are waived off, the application is accepted for publication.

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