Logos are considered designs and thus must adhere to the rules for trademark registration. Logos can be simple designs, designs with letters or words, or stylized letters. By registering your logo, you gain trademark rights that you can enforce if another company violates your rights by using a logo that is very similar to yours.
Are you looking to use a logo in your business or project, but not sure how to obtain the legal rights to do so? Logo licensing is an essential step for anyone wanting to make sure their logo remains protected.
Understand Your Logo License Requirements
Before you begin looking for a logo licence, you must first define your requirements. Consider the time period for which you require the rights, the geographic region or countries in which you will use it, and the type of usage (print/digital). All of these should be specified in your initial licence to avoid any potential issues later on. Make a note of these details and discuss them with your provider to ensure they are aware of your requirements.
Conduct a trademark search to see if any other companies are using your logo or a logo that is similar to yours. You can search the records of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) yourself or hire a search firm to do so for you. You could also hire a trademark lawyer.
Choose and Contact the Right Designer
Begin using your logo in connection with your company's goods or services to establish trademark rights in your geographic area. If you intend to only do business in your state, register your logo with the Secretary of State's office. If you intend to do business throughout the United States, register your logo with the USPTO. A clear illustration of the logo, a description of the goods or services used in conjunction with the logo, and an application fee will be required. You can use the Trademark Electronic Application System to file your application online (TEAS).
Negotiate a Logo Licensing Agreement
Before you begin using the logo, you must ensure that both your designer and yourself are legally protected. A logo licencing agreement document with detailed terms and conditions can be useful. This document should address issues such as ownership, permitted uses, the duration of the licence, and any additional payment requirements, such as royalties fees. Although your designer may already have a contract template that meets all of your requirements, double-check all details with them before signing.
Hire a search company or a trademark attorney to perform a trademark watch to ensure that other businesses are not using a logo that is too similar to yours.