You’ve made a logo that you love, and you’re ready to show it off to the world.
But, if you’re using your logo to represent your business, then it’s immediately at risk. Others can steal your designs, imitate your brand, or even claim that your logo was theirs first.
The best way to keep your logo safe? Trade mark it.
A trade mark gives you the sole, exclusive right to use your logo or brand mark to represent your business. It is a legal entity that protects your business’s logo from being used by others – no matter what.
In short, when you trade mark your logo, you’re signaling to the world that you believe in your business’s success. That’s powerful.
Let’s take a look at why it’s so important to trade mark your logo.
#1: A trade mark will protect your brand
This is the main reason business owners choose to trade mark their logo, and it’s a crucial factor in building a successful brand.
A trade mark distinguishes what your business offers from what your competitors sell. It essentially says, “No one else is allowed to use a logo that is similar, in sight or meaning, that would confuse customers into thinking it’s yours.”
In other words, with a trade marked logo, only you can sell what you sell while using a logo that looks like yours.
Put it this way: You can use the logo you’ve created without trade marking it – but so can anyone else.
Without a trade mark, there’s nothing stopping a competitor from copying your logo, and either giving your business a bad reputation or taking a share of your customers for themselves.
Plus, a trade mark also enables you to take legal action against anyone who does use your design without permission.
In fact, it’s possible to bring criminal charges against the offending party for misusing your trade marked logo – and, if you do take someone to court for infringing upon your trade mark, you’ll be able to collect money for damages as a result.
#2: Your business will be set up for growth
Sure, your company is probably starting out small – for now. But when you’re forming your brand – creating your logo, choosing a tagline, coming up with a personality – it’s important to think about your business’s future and how far it can grow.
Part of growing your business is building brand recognition, which is when customers can identify your company just by looking at your logo (or tagline/packaging).
Brand recognition is what makes the Nike swoosh and the Jaguar, well, Jaguar, such powerful marketing tools; everyone can instantly identify them, making customers more likely to purchase when they see their logo.
As you use your logo to represent your products and services, you’ll also be able to build brand recognition over time – and it’s vital to capitalize on brand recognition in order to grow your customer base.
Think that Coca Cola started out as a beverage sold in a pharmacy, at 5 cents a glass. Asda was a single butcher shop. Can you picture both of their logos in your head?
Exactly – that’s brand recognition. Now, can you imagine what would have happened if others were able to rip off their logo designs as their own?
Trust that your business will grow in the future, and a logo trade mark will make sure you can grow without unnecessary interference.
#3: There are many ways to trade mark
You can submit your trade mark yourself by simply going online and completing the form.
However, a lot of trade mark applications are rejected because they don’t meet the criteria for registration, or are registered with so many weaknesses that effective enforcement of the ultimate trade mark would be difficult, or even impossible.
In many cases, it is only when the time comes to enforce your trade mark registration against a competitor that the issues come to light. By then, it’s almost always too late.
There are several legal steps to the process, including performing a trade mark search to make sure your logo is truly unique, and filling out the application (see here for a complete guide on how to trade mark your logo).
Or, companies like LegalZoom will walk you through the steps of registering your trade mark and file your application for you. You can also choose to have them do the entire process for you from start to finish, so you can focus on developing your brand without worrying about the legal ins and outs of attaining your trade mark.
Others choose to hire a private solicitor to trade mark their logo, though it’s more expensive and not necessary.
It doesn’t take long to register a trade mark, and your business will be that much better off when you do! Remember, a logo trade mark will allow you to:
- Stop copycats from stealing your brand
- Take legal action against anyone who tries to steal your brand
- Build brand recognition
Over to You
Ready to trade mark your logo but aren’t sure where to start?
Head over to LegalZoom and get the ball rolling! Their legal specialists will take care of the entire process for you, so that you can easily protect your brand’s integrity without any hassle.