You have chosen the name of your brand and are ready with your brand Logo. Now, What Next???
Well! Next, you need to protect your assets from being stolen and from the infringement on your creative intellectual property. Logo of your brand or your brand’s name can be used against you for tarnishing your reputation in the market. Your logo is a unique and integral part of your brand, it is the core identity of your brand! So, you need to trademark or copyright your brand’s name or logo to prevent it from illegal use. Copyright and trademark will ensure that no one can use your intellectual property for financial gain and do not sell inferior products under the name of your brand. It helps protect your customer base and the well-regulated free market.
Secure the rights to your intellectual property! And your brand’s identity!
We will take you through a beginner’s guide to trademark or copyright your brand’s name or its logo. So, let us first understand the difference between copyright and trademark.
Trademark vs Copyright– There are major differences between the two. Below are shown images of their symbols.
- Registered trademark
- Unregistered trademark
- Unregistered service trademark
|It will not protect your brand’s name and logo against infringement||It will protect against infringement|
|Protects authorship;||Prevents confusion in the marketplace|
|It refers to original artistic works||Refers to products and manufacturers|
|It does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operations, color, design of logo, name etc., Protects the expression of idea but not the idea itself||Protects details of your work that is name, words, colors, mark, fonts etc.,|
|When you register copyright, you can sue anybody who tries to copy your work or exploit it for his own purposes||When you trademark your brand and its slogan and logo, you protect your brand’s identity|
|All original dramatic, literary, musical, and artistic works are subject to copyright||A trademark is any name, symbol, word, sound, or design that distinguishes one brand or manufacturer from another in the same field.|
Which one to use???
You own copyright by the time you put in on paper or computer and your own trademark when you start to use a name or logo for the promotion of your business. In terms of copyright, your original idea is protected along with your logo. Unlike copyright, a trademark never expires, it remains as long as your brand exists. Copyrights Expire, Trademarks are for Forever!
The registered trademark is valid for 6 years and if you want to further use it you can renew it but in case of copyright, once it expires you cannot renew it. Sometimes copyright and trademark overlap often becomes confusing but there are so many businesses which opts both copyright and trademark for protecting their logo.
How to copyright a logo
If your business is in the U.S, then fill out the online application on the official site of the U.S copyright office. If you do it online, then the processing time is 8 months while if you do it offline the process takes up to 13 months. Pay the registration fee and then send a non-returnable copy of your logo and if it’s already published somewhere else then send two copies of it and wait for a confirmation mail. Your copyright will be in effect as of the exact date you submit your application, not the date of approval.
How to trademark your logo
File an application with TEAS (Trademark electronic application system) and it requires a detailed description of your logo and its representation. Next you check the status of your application and then set up a trademark watch service to protect your rights.
How the approval process works
The trademark database will be checked for the availability of the mark you want to register by the patent and trademark office. If they find the same mark or logo, they will cancel your registration and there will be no refund. If your application meets the legal requirements for approval, the attorney will approve your mark for publication in the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s weekly magazine, the “Official Gazette.” During the 30 days following publication, anyone who thinks they may have been damaged by the registration of your mark can file an opposition to the registration or a request for the extension of opposition time.
Enforcement of trademark or copyright
You are responsible for enforcing your trademark and copyright rights after its approval to make sure you protect your name or logo against unauthorized use
You have two legal options when taking legal action to protect your trademark against infringement. You can either send a cease and desist letter or opt for a trademark infringement lawsuit. You must do trademark watch service by yourself or can opt for companies that can establish a trademark watch. You can hire an attorney to watch for trademark infringement.
When your work is copied, distributed, or publicly showing without your permission then it is known as copyright infringement. In such cases, you prove the infringement and then sue the infringing side.
When the third party is using your trademark illegally which causes confusion about the source of the product then it is known as trademark infringement. In this case, you need to prove you own a valid mark and that infringing side is causing confusion in the minds of customers. This type of infringement causes loss in sales and hurts the brand.
Some famous cases of logo infringement
These famous examples will tell you the importance of copyright and trademark
Apple vs Apfelkind
Apfelkinf a small café in Germany, had once received a logo copyright claim from, the Apple.
Apple Corps vs Apple Inc
The Beatles came up with the trademark for the word “apple” 8 years before Apple Inc. introduced it to the world. The Beatles sued Apple Inc. and the battle in court spanned for years.
Finally, Apple Inc. paid Apple Corps, a cash settlement and agreed to stay out of the music business.
Louis Vuitton vs Louis Vuitton Dak
Louis Vuitton Dak, a South Korean fried chicken restaurant, stole the logo as well as the name of the brand Louis Vuitton. Louis Vuitton sued the fast-food company for $1450000 more for non-compliance.
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