How to Trademark a Logo
Trademarking a logo is nearly identical to the process of how to trademark a name. The primary difference is that the applicant must submit a deposit specimen showing the logo during the application process. While filing a trademark application for a logo enhances protection‚ for most businesses the most important protection comes from filing for only the words comprising the trademark (i.e. without any design element). This is because consumers generally remember words not symbols‚ and because changes in the design over time may require filing a new application.
As with word only trademarks‚ a logo must be distinctive in order to achieve protection as a trademark. A logo can either be inherently distinctive or it can acquire distinctiveness through repeated use in commerce. Generic logos‚ however‚ are never eligible for trademark protection. If a logo is considered descriptive‚ it can achieve trademark protection only if the mark has acquired secondary meaning. For example‚ an image of a bar of soap placed on the packaging of a bar of soap could be considered generic or descriptive. Therefore‚ the best logos and those most likely to receive protection are original and unique. Utilizing an original design increases the likelihood of distinctiveness and decreases the probability that the logo is already in use.
As with all trademarks‚ logos can only become officially registered for goods once they are used in conjunction with products or services in commerce. A business may reserve the trademark by filing an intent to use application. For more information see How to Trademark.