Logo trademark registration is a bit more complex than protecting your business name or slogan. Image searches are always a challenge, and it may feel like everything has been done before. However, when you come up with a unique symbol to represent your brand, you want to make sure you can protect it. We provide the expert legal advice you need to streamline your logo trademark registration online.
The Requirements for Logo Trademark Registration
The first, most obvious criterion in online trademark filing is uniqueness. Your logo can’t be an image that’s:
- Already in use
- Too similar to a trademark in use
When it comes to issues with generic trademarks, this mainly means you can’t trademark universally known and recognized symbols on their own. For example, you couldn’t trademark the # symbol itself, but you could trademark it as a small part of your design.
To discover trademark similarities, you’re going to need a search. The Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) allows two types of searches of design marks:
The structured search makes use of the Design Search Code Manual. This manual gives six-digit numerical codes to different design types, essentially turning your design into data.
The unstructured form of design mark search is a search engine that allows you to use Boolean indicators to search for specific types of designs.
It should be said design code searches are difficult. In a typical design mark application it’s not unusual for the USPTO to search ten different codes. You can view the USPTO’s Design Code Search Manaul here. Once you’ve determined your logo is unique, you’ll still have to overcome another hurdle; use in commerce. For federal trademark registration, you have to show that you’re already using it in interstate commerce by including it with your product, marketing, or other consumer-facing material. If you have not used it yet, then you can file an intent-to-use application to protect your filing date while giving you time to use the mark.
While these requirements sound straightforward, you’re going to run into some hurdles as you navigate the trademark process.
Common Problems in Logo Trademark Registration
Anyone approaching trademark registration without a lot of experience is going to run into a few common hurdles. Some to consider include:
- Non-comprehensive searches: It’s not easy to navigate TESS for individuals not familiar with the trademarking process. You could overlook important design types or phrases and miss potential conflicts.
- Non-trademark use of logos: We often see prospective clients receive office actions denying their application because the way they’re using the logos on products like apparel is considered “mere ornamentation” as opposed to trademark use. A trademark can be decorative, but it must also serve brand identification purposes.
- Likelihood of confusion denials: These are arguably among the most common denial types. Either you didn’t complete a sufficient search, or you didn’t see a potential conflict between your mark and one that’s already registered. As a result, the USPTO denies your application due to concerns that consumers will mistake your logo for one owned by another company.
- Potential changes: Your business will stay the same for years. Your logo, however, is probably going to be updated several times. You’ll need to keep your registration up to date for these changes to stay protected.
- Product/service classes: There are 45 potential classes you’ll have to review to find the best fit for your business. Your trademark is only protected from use by others in that category, so it’s important to choose the right one.
Overall, there are many pitfalls you should consider as you begin your trademark registration process. Without the right guidance, you stand a risk of expensive, time-consuming denials.
How Bold Patents Helps You Protect Your Logo
Bold Patents offers the comprehensive representation you need to improve your chance of success in logo trademark registration. Our searches, legal opinions, and detailed application process help you overcome the common pitfalls that lead to denials. In fact, we have an 86% clearance rate for first-time applications!
For added convenience, we can complete all the steps to this online. Our online consultations give you the option to speak with an experienced trademark attorney as you start the process. But we don’t stop there. We act as your guide for the life of your logo trademark registration so you can take the stress out of protecting your IP.
We offer a free Discovery Call so you can decide if Bold Patents is the right option for your logo trademark registration. Contact us online or call 800-849-1913 for more information.