Establishing your brand and building a decent following is a huge accomplishment – congratulations on getting this far! Whether you’re a YouTuber or an Instagram influencer, you may be beginning to wonder what the next steps are in your career. Chances are, if your followers are starting to recognize your name and brand, it’s probably time to trademark your logo.
Creating Your Logo
Creating a logo for your brand is just as important as determining your business name and/or social media handle, so don’t rush the process. Work closely with a graphic designer to create a simple, unique, memorable logo that will immediately remind your followers of your face or product.
Think about some of the most iconic logos you know. Perhaps you’re thinking of Coca-Cola or Nike. Is there a reason that you choose one product over another when you’re in the store? Chances are, you make purchases based on the feelings and opinions you associate with each logo.
Therefore, once you’ve chosen a logo you feel best represents your brand, it’s important to protect it from copycats. But first…
Ensure Your Logo is REALLY Yours
Before you officially trademark your logo, you need to ensure that you’re the only one using it. Even if you had your design custom made, it’s important that you are not accidentally stealing a design from another business.
Unfortunately, determining whether your logo is already in use is not an easy task. While you can use reverse Google searches and browse the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), your best bet is most likely hiring a social media attorney to be sure you’re in the clear.
While a logo search is not legally mandated, if your logo is deemed too similar to one that is already trademarked, your request will be denied. Furthermore, you will lose any money you had invested into the process.
Common Law Trademark vs. Federal Trademark
Luckily, once you have created a logo, it is officially, legally yours.
That’s right! By simply using a logo, you create a “common law” trademark.
However, note that common law trademarks are limited in many ways. For example, two businesses in separate geographical locations may legally have the same logo!
Furthermore, if you depend on a common law trademark, your logo will not be discoverable via the USPTO website. Therefore, if another business were to register a logo extremely similar to yours, their legal rights would be priority.
In order to retain the most legal protection, I always recommend that my clients officially trademark their logo with the USPTO as soon as they’ve created it.
How to Trademark a Logo
Once you access the USPTO website and click “Apply online” under “Trademarks”, you’ll be faced with a plethora of required forms.
Due to the extensive options available to anyone looking for a trademark, I always recommend consulting with an attorney before filing any paperwork.
More specifically, a social media attorney can help you determine how to correctly identify your field of work as a content creator. Since the goods and services you provide affect what type of trademark you’ll be granted, it’s important to categorize your business correctly.
Once you’ve submitted all of your paperwork, the rest of the world has 30 days to oppose your application. However, as long as there are no complications, your trademark will be officially approved for your use!