If you plan to trademark your logo in 2023, you’re not alone. Trademark applications continue to increase, according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office — with over 60% growth year over year since 2020.
What does that mean for you? Trademark competition is increasing, and the need to protect our brand’s assets (like logos, taglines, names, and more) is higher than ever. Of course, the trademark process can be confusing at best, leading many entrepreneurs and brands to save it for a “rainy day.”
Those who do follow through with their application may encounter snags in the process, with trademark attorneys requesting more information, other brands challenging your application, and more. That’s why it’s so important to understand the logo trademarking process — and how to successfully trademark in 2023.
While we can’t guarantee that following our advice will lead to an accepted application for your logo, we do know that this system has the highest probability of getting your application accepted and your business protected.
What Does It Mean to “Trademark” Your Logo?
Many entrepreneurs and brands forego the trademarking process because they don’t know how important it actually is — or even what it is.
Trademarking means registering any word, phrase, symbol, design (like a logo), or a combination that identifies your goods or services. Once a trademark is registered, it prevents other brands from using the same assets in their marketing materials, signature frameworks, names, etc. As this relates to your logo, trademarking means that other brands cannot use your same logo or a similar logo in your industry — or in a way that is intentionally misleading.
Having a trademark doesn’t guarantee that brands won’t try to copy your logo. But it does guarantee that, should a copycat pop up, you have the legal right to send a cease and desist letter, or to pursue a claim.
Why Is It Important to Trademark Your Logo?
During your research of the trademark process, you might be wondering if you even need a trademark. They can be expensive and time-consuming; is it really necessary? We say yes — and not just because we’re trademark attorneys. Here’s why:
To put it bluntly, delaying your trademark puts your business’s future at risk.
As your brand grows, you want that additional layer of protection. The more eyes you have on your brand (especially your logo, if that’s what you’re primarily marketing) the more at risk it is.
Say that in five years, someone comes across your business idea and thinks it could be lucrative. They look into it and find that you don’t have a trademark… so they file an application to trademark your logo and/or name.
Since you haven’t gone through the legal process of protecting your brand, they are granted the trademark and can then send you a cease and desist letter.
You’re faced with a choice: Shut down completely, rebrand your business and confuse your already loyal customer base, or attempt to fight the cease and desist in an expensive legal battle.
This is an easily avoidable situation when you trademark your logo and other assets.
How Can You Trademark Your Logo in 2023?
Ready to trademark your logo — and other brand assets, like names, taglines, symbols, and more? There are a few key steps you need to follow when trademarking your brand and intellectual property.
Start with a USPTO search
First and foremost, you need to search the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Search System to ensure there is no other word or design mark held with any similarities. If you’re looking to trademark your logo specifically, select the “design mark” options.
Please note: The USPTO database is a great place to start, but it is not comprehensive. We don’t want the client to receive any surprises, which is why we perform a comprehensive search that combs through various databases, not just the USPTO.
Know Your Design Code
You’ll also want to know the Design Search Code for your logo, including anything particular about your design elements. This will tell the search query to look for designs with a particular word and things like:
- Celestial bodies, natural phenomena, geographical maps
- Human beings
- Household utensils
- Machines and machine parts
- And more
For example, if you’re a manufacturing company and your logo has a machine part in it, you’ll want to use Category 15 when searching for your company name.
Searching the USPTO database alone is a good start, but it isn’t enough to be entirely sure your trademark is open. That’s why we perform a comprehensive search that combs through various databases (not just the USPTO).
If, during your USPTO search, similarities do pop up, you may need to go back to the drawing board or consider other logo options. If you’re unsure if your logo toes the line between “similar” to another brand and “not similar,” it’s always a good idea to speak with an experienced legal team.
Next Steps: File Your Logo Trademark
Once you’ve settled on the name and design mark for your logo and you’re certain there are no trademarks similar to it in your industry, you will need to file an application with the USPTO and pay the application fee (which ranges from $250-$350 currently). Depending on what exactly you’re trademarking, you will need supporting materials, including your business name, logo, and a description.
After that, the only next step is to wait. The application process can take anywhere from 6-8 months just for the review process — and that’s assuming your application is easily accepted! Processing times may vary, but the USPTO has a webpage dedicated to keeping applicants updated. There’s an additional 2-3 months after the application before your trademark will be registered.
If there are issues with your application, such as missing information or a similar trademark held by another brand, the process may take much longer. There will be communications from the USPTO to explain the situation and give you action items.
If you want to expedite this process and avoid confusing communications re: your logo trademark, we highly recommend working with an expert legal team.
Why Work With Trademark Attorneys to Trademark Your Logo?
If you’re ready to trademark your logo and other intellectual property in 2023, we want to help.
At Watson & Young, we help entrepreneurs, fashion and beauty brands, and change-makers protect what makes their brands unique. More than that, we take the trademarking process on for you, so you can get back to your important work.
“Watson & Young removed the guesswork and provided us with service that left us feeling empowered. We couldn’t have asked for a better team to guide us through this tedious process. Without Watson & Young, we couldn’t have successfully filed our trademark. There aren’t enough words to describe Watson & Young’s outstanding work, and we’d recommend them to all entrepreneurs looking to trademark their brands!”
Vows Of Style (Bridal Agency)
When you work with Watson & Young, we’ll help you with an in-depth comprehensive search for your trademark word and design search, so we can help you confidently file your trademark. Should anything go wrong or any legal action needed to be taken, our legal team will be by your side for it all.
With the many intricacies of the trademark process, working with someone who does this every single day and has a track record of success is invaluable in saving you time and money.
If you’re interested in working with our expert trademark team, who has a track record of a 99.3% trademark approval rating, we are here. Please book a complimentary consultation with our team — and let’s get your logo trademarked.