How to Copyright a Logo for a Stronger Brand Ownership
Published: September 7, 2022
In today’s world, where large and well-known brands dictate the course of the market, it’s important to have something unique and recognizable to stand out.
However, to protect your business and ensure that your brand and creations stay yours, it’s essential to know how copyright laws work in the first place.
What Is Copyright?
Copyright is the type of intellectual property that protects original pieces of work from the moment they’re created. This legal category covers various kinds of work, including paintings, books, music, software, and logos.
For a piece to be eligible for copyright protection, it must be original work captured on a permanent medium that makes it easier to perceive or distribute. It usually means writing it down or recording it, but creating something in your favorite logo maker also counts.
To Trademark or Copyright a Logo — What Is the Difference?
Despite being thrown around in the media interchangeably most of the time, trademark and copyright don’t mean the same thing. Copyright protects the authorship of original work, while a trademark ensures one brand or a piece of work doesn’t get mistaken for another.
In the case of a logo, it’s legally possible to both trademark and copyright it. However, in order to do either, you must first make sure that it’s truly unique by comparing it to all the other registered logos in the US Copyright Office database.
Steps to Copyright a Logo
After checking whether your logo is unique, make sure you have about $35.00–$85.00 to pay the necessary fees. The cost will depend on whether you identified the category of the logo yourself and if you applied online or by mail.
Once you’re sure you have everything ready, there are a few steps that you need to take:
- Fill out an application form on the USCO’s official website
- Pay the registration fee
- Send non-returnable copies of your logo
- Expect a confirmation email
The copyright is effective immediately after submitting the form. You can now protect the usage and distribution of your logo and have better control over using it in public.
Steps to Trademark Your Logo
In case you want to protect your logo even further, trademarking is another good solution. However, compared to what it would cost to copyright a logo, registering it in the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is significantly pricier — starting from $275.00.
In order to properly register a trademark, you’ll need to follow three easy steps:
- File an application through Trademark Electronic Application System
- Check the status of your application regularly, as it can take months to complete
- Set up some kind of a “trademark watch” service for better protection
With a registered trademark, you’re protecting not only your brand identity but also the usage of your name by any third-party entity.
With basic definitions and steps out of the way, we should briefly mention some issues that arise once the copyright or trademark conditions are violated in any way.
Any sharing, distributing, or publicly showing copyrighted content is considered copyright infringement. Furthermore, the user is entitled to full copyright protection immediately after copyrighting a logo and a name.
If you notice someone using your logo or something else you’ve copyrighted before, you have every right to sue the responsible party.
A trademark infringement is anything that can create confusion about the source of the product or a piece of work. This confusion can happen when someone is using your trademarked logo or name, in this case, without any authorization from you.
As is the case with copyright infringement, this type of violation can also be subject to a lawsuit. It especially stands if you or your brand are directly experiencing the negative effects of the said trademark infringement.
Benefits of Copyrighting a Logo
There are quite a few reasons why someone would choose to copyright their logo. This section will briefly mention a few of the most important ones.
It is by far the biggest advantage you’ll get by registering your logo. Once you’ve made the request, you officially own your logo and name in the eyes of the law. It also becomes easier for you to sort out any infringements with copyright protection legally.
That’s why it’s important to make sure that the copyright is transferred to you in case you didn’t create the logo yourself but outsourced its creation, for instance, by hiring someone on a reputable freelancing site to make it for you.
It Can Make You Stand Out
When you copyright a logo and the name of your brand, you automatically stand out from the competition. By copyrighting anything, be it a logo or a product idea, you can make it impossible for your competitors to get ahold of it and use it as their own.
Easier Damage Control
When something ultimately does happen, and your brand becomes a subject of copyright or any other kind of infringement, sometimes it’s not only your wallet suffering but also your status and you, as the face of your brand.
With copyright and trademark registrations neatly set in place, you can rest assured it’d be easier to settle any kind of violation in court.
Disadvantages of Logo Copyright Laws
In theory, despite seeming like a perfect concept, registering your logo for copyright also has a few disadvantages.
Limited Promotional Potential
The main idea behind copyright is to prevent people from freely sharing and distributing material under its protection. However, this can sometimes backfire on the holder of rights, especially if their primary goal is to increase their visibility, not financial gains.
As good as it may sound, copyright protection isn’t all-encompassing. On the contrary, it too has its limits past which it can’t go. Some of them, for example, include not being able to protect the idea behind a product itself — it only covers the individual product.
The cost of copyrighting a logo can vary. In fact, to copyright it, the lowest price stands at about $35.00. However, the overall investment can go even higher if you also decide to trademark it, and the total can exceed $200.00 or even the $600.00 mark.
Seeing how it’s effortless to find high-quality graphic design software with a free trial, if you’re on the creative side, making a logo might very well turn out to be significantly cheaper than getting the copyright to it.
Copyright can be a tricky subject in modern industries, and some companies even go as far as hiring lawyers and attorneys or a registered agent service that specialize in this kind of law. It’s serious business, and the penalties for violating these protections can be quite severe.
We hope we were able to paint a clear picture and help you understand the process of logo copyright registration and its surrounding topics in today’s professional climate.
Thank you so much for reading, and good luck copyrighting!
How to copyright a logo for free?
Many are asking this question. Unfortunately, you cannot copyright a logo for free.
The minimum fee to officially register a logo for copyright is $35. Therefore, if you want your logo to legally be recognized as a copyrighted piece of work, paying that fee to the appropriate entity is necessary upon registration.
How do you trademark a name of a brand?
Trademarking a brand name is very straightforward and can be done completely online in about an hour. The official, simple way would be to register it on the US Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) website.
How to get a copyright?
Registering for copyright is quite simple. All you need to do is fill out a form on the USCO’s website, pay the required fee, send a few copies of your logo and wait for the confirmation email.