Written by ©2018 Lien Design
When you create a logo or slogan for your brand, you want to protect is so that other companies can’t come along and create similar designs for their company. You’ve probably seen signs like TM, SM or R, all of which give varying degrees of protection to their properties. Find out more about what each can do to protect your company.
A trademark can work to distinguish your product or service from others preventing them from using something similar for their products. It also indicates that the source is authentic. It protects your brand nationwide if you do business in multiple states. It also licenses and co-brands your intellectual properties and products.
Logos, symbols, phrases, words and even color, smell and sound are all eligible to be trademarked.
The symbol can be used for free and establishes common law trademark rights but will not be as effective as a registered trademark.
A registered trademark is a small R that appears in a circle next to a logo, symbol or phrase. It states that you have been registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The symbol can only be used after the USPTO grants you usage rights, a process that can take as long as 6 months and costs anywhere from around $500-1200. However, it gives you the ability to seek damages from infringers in court, a bonus not included with an unregistered trademark.
A service mark is a subset of a trademark working to identify the source of the service rather than the goods themselves. They are often used for slogans and taglines.
Like an unregistered trademark, it is not necessary to register your properties before receiving a service mark. However, it also does not give them the same level of protection as a registered trademark as you are unable to take legal action against someone who copies logos or slogans that are protected with a service mark.
Registering a property is not easy and getting the right classification can be extremely confusing. It’s a good idea to consult an IP attorney to make sure this process is done correctly. Although this can be expensive and time consuming, businesses who have invested money into their company’s branding should take action to protect it.
While a graphic design branding agency might not be able to help you with the legalities of trademarking your product, they will can help you come up with a great logo and slogan and set you in the right direction when it comes to your trademarking needs. Keeping that in mind, it is always good to consult an expert.
Lien Design is a branding and design agency located in San Diego, California. Their years of experience make them exceptional in the field of marketing and branding ensuring your products and services will always stand out above the competition. Once they help you create your branding strategy, they will advise you on the best course to take when it comes to protecting your properties.
Consult Lien Design for all your branding and design needs.
Disclaimer: None of the information in this article should be considered legal advice.