How do you trademark your logo?

How do you trademark your logo so no one else is able to use it?

Involved process I don’t know all the steps for . . . but the first step is to claim the trademark. We do it by putting a TM with all of our trade logo and phrases. We will eventually actually register the trademarks, but not a priority now. Getting the TM out there gets a benchmark of the date you started using the logo.

I think you just need to register it with the state, unless you plan on going national. That’s what we’ve done. The only thing that makes it a pain is that you need to renew it annually.

Speaking from experience, the process is somewhat lengthy but can be accomplished without a trademark attorney, assuming no “issues” arise.

  1. Go to the USPTO website and do a search to ensure that your mark has not already been taken. It is advisable to look for similar registered marks as well, as the USPTO examining attorney may refuse your mark if there is a likelihood of confusion.

  2. Choose a classification of goods and services , as well as a legal description of your mark and logo. (There is a large list to choose from.)

  3. The application can be done online and there is a processing fee of $275 or $325 if done online.

  4. Upon reviewing your application (which will take about 2-4 months), the examining attorney will either approve it for publishing for opposition or kick it back if it does not qualify (similar mark, incorrect/incomplete application).

  5. Once approved for publication, in a couple of months, it will be published in the Trademark Gazette for 30 days which gives everybody (meaning bloodthirsty trademark attorneys) an opportunity to oppose registration based on some criteria, such as infringement on the mark of their client(s).

  6. If you’ve cleared this last hurdle, in another month or two, they’ll notify you (or you can check online status of your mark) that your mark has been registered. (Then you can put the circle-R next to your logo and feel like a big shot!)

Summary - It’s not a particularly difficult process, but it takes 8-12 months and can be frustrating, as the USPTO hurries for no one. After an initial refusal, I had to submit a letter to convince the examining attorney in my case of why my mark would not be confused with an admittedly similar mark already registered (though used in a much different application). This slowed the process for me as I was waited nearly two months to respond (and nearly gave up) as I’ve been in the middle of the franchising development process, managing two stores, and trying to be husband and dad to a large family.

I never priced a trademark attorney, but would’ve needed one if my well-written letter hadn’t accomplished its purpose. (Thankfully it did, because I didn’t have the funds anyway.)

You can do it yourself, if you take the time to learn about the process (a lot of reading) and are patient. If not, go write a check ($$) to a trademark attorney and let him/her deal with it.