Trademark your logo guide
Your logo is a pretty precious item, so here we introduce a guide on what to consider if you want to trademark your logo.
Trademark your logo. Yes or no?
In a word yes, it’s advisable.
We’re not lawyers (so seek legal help if you want a definitive legal view on the content here), but registering your logo will help you defend your logo if someone tries to copy it.
Your logo or trademark can be a word, symbol or mixture of things that identify your company. You’ve hopefully spent a lot of time, effort and money getting it designed and promoted, so if someone pinches it you’ll need as much weight behind you as possible.
Is it easy to Trademark your logo?
We trademarked the Brand Glue logo ourselves, it was easy. Or you can hire a specialist lawyer. Which will make your life even easier, but cost a bit more.
You’ll need to pick the classes you want to register your logo in – these are the categories in which your company operates. There’s a hefty list so it takes a while to trawl through and make sure you have the right categories. A lawyer would advise you on categories to enter.
You can register your trademark here at the Intellectual Property Office: http://www.ipo.gov.uk/types/tm/t-applying/t-apply.htm
How long. How much?
It takes a while. Your logo/trademark will be published to see if anyone objects to it in the Trade marks Journal. You need to check it doesn’t exist already beforehand – and that is where a lawyer can be very useful. This can mitigate against objections from either the Registry, or other companies. The whole process can take months to allow for checks and the publishing.
The cost of doing it yourself starts at £170 for registration into one classification/category. Lawyers will be more, but specialists can be worth it!
Changing logos. Animated Logos.
The link to the Registry above covers UK trademarks. European and wider trademarking is more complicated – break out the lawyers when things get complicated.
You’ll be registering a static logo/shape/mark. If you change it you’ll need to start again and re register. We also found a very interesting article recently about the dangers of creating moving or animated logos. Because these change from your static logo they are considered different, and could be outside of your registration. Read the article here. Again, in this kind of complicated case it’s time to unleash the lawyers!
How long does a Trademarked logo last?
10 years. Then you need to renew it.
Keep using it too! If your logo goes unused for 5 years it lapses.
Warning! Spam hell afterwards.
Your registration will be public. We were inundated with domain registration warnings and postal warnings to pay invoices for other ‘registered’ trademark directories.
These can be very clever, and almost think you haven’t paid in full or are missing something important. Invariably you won’t be, it’s just spam from domain registration companies or spurious trademark directories that have no legal standing whatsoever. We paid the IPO office and that was it.
If it gets confusing call the lawyers. But don’t not register, it’s great back up to create a secure trademarked logo.