Under U.S. law, a trademark is a distinct word, phrase, symbol or design used to distinguish a company's products or services. Logos are considered designs and thus follow the rules for the registration of trademarks. Logos can consist of simply a design, a design with letters or words or stylized letters. Registering your logo gives you trademark rights, which you can enforce if another business infringes on your rights by using a logo that is very similar to yours.
Perform a trademark search to determine if any other businesses are using your logo or a logo similar to yours. You can search the records of the U.S. Patent and Trademarks Office (USPTO) yourself or hire a search company to conduct it for you. You can also hire a trademark attorney.
Start using your logo in connection with goods or services offered by your company in order to establish trademark rights in your geographic area.
Register your logo with your state's Secretary of State's office if you are planning only to do business in your state. If you are planning to conduct business throughout the U.S., register your logo with USPTO. The application will require a clear illustration of the logo, a description of the goods or services used in conjunction with the logo, and an application fee. You may file your application online using the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS).
Protect your logo by hiring a search company or trademark attorney to conduct a trademark watch to ensure that other businesses are not using a logo that is too similar to yours.
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images