Yes, you can copyright and trademark a logo; however, it is important to understand the difference between these two types of intellectual property protection, as registering a logo with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) or the U.S. Copyright Office does not mean your logo will be protected.
Once you register it, it will be YOUR responsibility to protect it, trademark and copyright registration are powerful weapons that will certainly make the job a lot easier; however, having those weapons is pointless if you do not know how to use them. Before you copyright and trademark a logo, make sure you understand what these two things will do for you and, most importantly, what they will not do. Read on to learn what you need to know.
Copyright vs. Trademark – What is the Difference?
When you copyright something – more specifically, an original work of created in a fixed form – you protect it from anyone who tries to use it to make money without your permission. The U.S. Copyright Office grants protection to, dramatic, literary, artistic musical, and certain other intellectual works.
Trademarking, on the other hand, is the process of protecting names, words, sounds, colors, or symbols that distinguish products and/or services from those made and/or sold by others and indicate the source of the product and/or services. In the United States, trademark registration is granted by the USPTO.
Although copyrights and trademarks are two different things, when it comes to logos, both apply, as a logo can be both something that identifies a business and a creative work, as most logos contain artistic elements that qualify for copyright protection. Therefore, if your logo is a unique artistic creation, it may qualify for both copyright and trademark registration.
How to Copyright and Trademark a Logo
When you create an original creative work, you automatically obtain common law rights over it, after which someone who uses your work without your permission cannot claim innocent infringement if you can prove that they had access to either the work or a copy of it.
Although the creator of a copyrightable work obtains common law rights immediately upon creating the work, it is best to register it with the U.S. Copyright Office, as it makes it easier to pursue infringement claims in court by allowing the creator to prove that they created the work.
Similarly, registering a trademark is not legally required. It is, however, the best way to fully protect your intellectual property, as it allows you to establish your ownership of your trademark in court should you ever need to. In addition, registering your trademark with the USPTO has several other advantages over common law rights. The owner of a registered trademark can enforce their trademark across the United States.
You may also choose to register your trademark in a specific state to receive statutory remedies that will be far harder to achieve if you just have common law rights over the trademark.
Florida trademark registration is significantly less expensive and easier to obtain than federal trademark registration. However, any federal trademarks that may exist will supersede a Florida trademark and any other state trademark, which is why, before you apply for trademark registration in Florida, it is vital to conduct a search to make sure someone else has not registered your logo.
If you need help protecting your logo and other intellectual property in Florida, give Attorney Romy B. Jurado, Esq. a call today at (305) 921-0976 or send an email to [email protected] to schedule an initial consultation.
Registering a logo with the USTPO or the U.S. Copyright Office is not easy, so make sure you work with someone who knows those waters.