However, can you sue if your logo design is not trademarked? Let’s find out!
Did you know that a trademark is important to protect your product and logo from theft? This is the best way to protect your business identity. Trademarks will protect your logo, including the symbols, names, words, colors, and other elements.
Trademarking a logo will also help consumers distinguish products from other companies. It will provide legal protection for your products and logos. If someone else creates a similar logo or steals your design to change it, you can sue them legally. But what if your logo is not trademarked and then stolen by other parties?
Can I Sue For A Logo That Is Not Trademarked?
A company logo is an important aspect to be protected as it is the main component and identity of a company. Especially if you have designed it uniquely using the services of the best logo designer.
Protecting the logo by applying for a trademark as early as possible is the best alternative, but what if the logo is not trademarked and then stolen by someone else?
It may still be overcome by the litigation process, but you have to look at several things according to the problem you are facing.
1. Trademarks Protected by Common Law
Registering your logo with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is the best way to get legal protection. This leveling process can strengthen your claim against the trademark so you can protect your logo from thieves.
When your company uses the logo for each of its services or products, then it has established common law trademark rights. If other parties intentionally steal your logo or claim to be your company, then you can sue them legally.
2. Comparative Advertising
There may be instances where other parties use your logo but do not steal it. The Federal Trade Commission allows comparative advertising, in which a company uses the trademark of another logo as a method of differentiating its products and services.
In this case, the use of the logo does not constitute an infringement of your trademark. However, these other companies only use your trademark as a means of informing the public about how your products and logos differ from theirs.
3. The Logos Copyright
Copyright laws may not mention the company name or product directly, but they can apply to an artistic expression. Any images that contain artistic elements, including logos, will automatically receive copyright protection once the logo is created.
This copyright is different from trademark rights. If someone uses your logo without your permission, it may be a form of copyright infringement.
4. Sending A Cease-And-Desist Letter
Suing the other party using the trademark without permission is a good solution that some people choose, but some parties prefer to stop the infringement by issuing a cease-and-desist letter.
Many intellectual property owners choose this step to crack down on infringement. The letter contains a request in order for the other party who stole your logo will stop using your trademark.
This solution is suitable for asking the party concerned to end the violation that they have committed within a certain period. If you want to stop the violation, then this method is the most appropriate way.
On the other hand, if you wish to proceed to legal proceedings or seek damages, this request letter may only serve as a first step before litigation, including when your logo is not trademarked.
Do Commercials Have Copyright?
Advertising is intended to expose trademarks to the public. However, as a trademark owner, you don't want others to use yours to make money for their benefit.
Advertisements appearing on television and radio are protected by copyright and may be subject to legal protection of intellectual property as set out in trademark laws.
Advertising of any kind on television or radio will be protected by U.S. copyright laws. The protection will be given after the ad is made. If you register the ad with the U.S. Copyright Office, the copyright will be extended to the ability to claim greater damages against the party deemed detrimental.
What Are Trademarks?
A trademark is an identity of a product that identifies anything related to the product. It is made by the company to distinguish itself from other companies or competitors.
A trademark includes brand names, symbols, logos, slogans, designs, and other elements that can be trademarked. This trademark applies to products in the form of goods or physical products.
Now take a look at a product that displays the "TM" symbol in several places. A symbol is a form of confirmation from the company that the product displayed is a trademark. After all, this TM symbol is quite strong.
Although quite strong, the use of the "TM" symbol does not guarantee you will win any form of trademark fight, especially if the other party claims a similar brand and has been using it for a longer time.
How To Build A Trademark?
As a business owner, you must protect what you have built. Creating products and logos is not as easy as turning the palm because there are several important considerations. You must establish a trademark and do registration.
1. Establish A Trademark
You must establish a trademark. However, in the United States, the most effective way to establish a trademark is to use it. You may have a company logo with a car icon next to a cheetah. Make sure no other brand uses that symbol.
Then, you can introduce your logo to the public by using it n social media, advertising, website, and other platforms.
The second way to build a trademark is to register it with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to provide legal protection for your brand.
With trademark registration, no one can arbitrarily use your symbol. You also get legal views on trademark rights that can help resolve trademark disputes as well as give you a chance to win in federal court.
What is The Meaning of The R symbol?
Have you ever seen a symbol in the form of a capital "R" inside a circle? A symbol that looks like this ® is intended to indicate that the brand or logo used for a product is officially registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
In addition to granting the right to use the ® symbol, federal registration also allows trademark owners to sue infringers who use the trademark in federal court.
1. Knowledge of Trademark Rights
For federally registered trademarks, the use of the TM symbol is a notification to the public that your company has trademark rights in the form of a logo or brand. Granting the TM symbol does not require filing with any government agency, but the symbol can be used when your trademark is registered with a state agency.
2. Use of the ® Symbol
When you use the ® symbol on a trademark, it may not help much to protect your trademark from possible infringement.
The symbol only serves to notify other parties or the public that the name or logo bearing the ® symbol is federally registered. You can resolve the violation problem by providing a letter for the offending party to sue in federal court.
Are There Advantages and Disadvantages to Copyright Laws?
No one should use your company's materials without asking for permission or even taking advantage of it. Unfortunately, there are many transgressors and irresponsible people who only want to gain when others have to suffer loss.
Copyright laws protect creative works, including logos, for companies that have paid for their creation. However, the practice is far from perfect.
1. Automatic Copyright Protection
The U.S. copyright law has the power to protect all creative works issued by a company as soon as they are published. Every work is copyrighted to receive protection, even without registering it or claiming ownership of the work.
Although this protects intellectual property theft, they cannot assist if someone makes a claim to your logo and then you want to claim compensation. These are the cons of automatic copyright protection.
If you want to be able to get compensation, the way is to register the trademark with the U.S.
Copyright Office so that you can seek compensation for various violations. You should also expect to charge between $35 and $220 per set of works submitted to the copyright office. The registration may take a long time, and the cost is quite expensive.
2. Protects intellectual property rights.
Companies can handle copyright infringement issues in the civil environment that requires several proofs instead of legal evidence that does not require proof as in criminal proceedings.
Many of these copyright actions have a lot of conveniences compared to other litigation taken by the company.
Then the cons are that it is expensive to enforce by the owner. Most matters have to be dealt with in a civil manner, which may require legal representation in some cases.
In some cases, several small copyright owners will have difficulty with long-term representation. They may not have the financial resources to fight a large corporate copyright infringement lawsuit.
3. Rapid Reaction
If your company owns the copyright to any work registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, you can immediately ask the court to order the infringer to stop claiming the work.
Actions from these courts move much more quickly than criminal or civil proceedings against the party committing the offense. At least prompt action can stop additional harm to copyright infringement.
However, this may create ambiguity in some respects. Creativity can be ambiguous and open to various interpretations. It will be difficult to distinguish derivative works from original creations because the definition is not clear.
The decision is in the hands of a judge or jury on a case-by-case analysis. Sometimes, companies with copyrights have to spend considerable time and money proving infringement on the work.
However, it is better to register your trademark legally so that you can get a legal solution. While you can get copyright protection after your logo is created, that doesn'tdoesn't guarantee much, especially if the competitor or the violator is a large company.
There are a lot of violations out there, but some parties can't do anything about it. A logo is an important corporate identity, so a logo must be trademarked. Starting a business wisely must be accompanied by proper legal protection.
Why Should A Logo be Trademarked?
By registering your brand, your company can get legal protection. The public also becomes aware that you are the owner of the brand. You can use the brand only after the logo is registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
The USPTO recognizes two types of marks that you can register: the first one is to identify goods or products, and the second one is for service marks that are used exclusively to identify the service.
Remember, before registering a trademark, it is best to do some research. One of them is to search for trademarks, whether the logo you will use is unique. You can look up this trademark information on the official USPTO website to find out if the logo symbol has been used by someone else.
However, this search is important to avoid claims that might suggest that your logo is similar to that of another company. If the logo you want to register is too similar to the other party, your application may be rejected. Worse yet, the application fee may not be refunded.
How to Trademark My Logo?
Trademarks are divided into two categories, namely trademarks according to the goods and services of a business. There are several requirements that you must meet to apply for federal registration. First, you have got to fulfill the requirements before applying for the trademark.
If you want to register a trademark, starting from a domain, logo, or company name, all of them must be registered separately as a trademark. Although the three are interrelated, the registration must be done one by one. So, there will be several vital documents that you need.
It will take you about 10 to 16 months to register a trademark with the USPTO. However, your logo has been protected since you started applying. So, the reference is not the date of publication.
You need to know that the state trademark serves to protect the logo in the state to which it belongs. Federal trademarks provide national protection for companies that have business in more than one state.
For business owners operating more broadly, federal trademark protection is more necessary. As for businesses that only operate in one state, the protection obtained is sufficient. It'sIt's all your choice, but you have to remember that legal protection is a must for a business.
What to Do After I Have Trademarked My Logo?
Well, you have completed trademark registration as the first step to protecting your brand. Registering a brand is an important part of overall brand protection. Your application is subject to an ever-expanding approval process.
Trademarks must be kept up-to-date to stay active. Usually, you should accomplish this trademark renewal date within ten years. You should also carry out regular monitoring so that the integrity of the trademark is protected and not misused.
One of the legal actions you can take in the event of a violation of your trademark is to issue a cease-and-desist letter.
Trademark registration is the first step to protecting the mark. Once this process is completed, there may still be a lot of work for you to do. In addition, it is your job to remember the date of renewal of the trademark.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office requires regular updates to verify that your brand is still valid and active. You can get the form and application through the dedicated government portal.
If necessary, you can expand the scope of your trademark. The earlier you register a trademark, the better the results. Your business may be different from the first time the application was submitted. You can do the following things:
- Expansion into new industries by applying for additional trademarks that include new classes of services or goods.
- If you have a new logo or brand, you can update the trademark specimen to show your current company identification. A logo update means some changes without changing an important element of a company that consumers already know.
- New labeling or packaging with updated specimens to illustrate the use of your brand.
We know that creative works issued by companies, including brands and logos, are protected directly by copyright laws. But is that enough? You may be able to request the guilty party to immediately stop a claim that harms your company, but you can't sue for damages.
However, trademarking a logo will help you run your business more safely and comfortably. In addition, consumers can also differentiate your product from other companies. You can even sue the party who stole the intellectual property.
Filing a trademark for your logo means you provide legal protection. Before submitting a logo, you should do some research so that your logo is unique. It can save your brand from some problems that may arise in the future.