Should I Copyright or Trademark My Logo?
When setting up a business, you will encounter many challenges and confusion. To identify the solution to these problems you have to make critical decisions. These choices can help or break your business. Thus, you have to stay informed about the problems before making them.
While creating a website, many entrepreneurs ask, “should I copyright or trademark my logo? how do I protect my logo, how do I protect my brand? The answer to this solution is not as simple as it seems and you need to understand the consequences of choosing either option. Also, you must determine why copyright and trademark are different.
Remember that your goal is to increase your website’s protection level if you choose copyright or trademark. That said, copyright and trademark offer different levels of protection and you have to understand which option will suit you. To decide whether copyright suits your business’s website or trademark, you must learn what each term means.
Trademark is an intellectual property, which indicates that it can be a piece such as a logo, music, or painting. When it comes to intellectual property, it includes any business idea and a piece designed on that idea. This legal ownership protects your rights to use and manage business designs, symbols, and phrases from other brands. Here are some items that you can protect with a trademark:
- Business names
- Brand names
Basics of Copyright
Copyright is also an intellectual property and describes your ownership and rights to use a creative expression. A copyright owner can distribute and control the rights of their work. You can copyright various items such as musical compositions, videos, or books. Here are some building blocks of copyright:
- The copyright protection allows you to have exclusive rights for your logo. This means that only you can have the right to transfer or publish your logo.
- For copyright protection, you should hold the original logo design.
- You should have the logo design intangible or fixed form.
- A copy-righted logo will remain your property until you are alive.
Did you notice one thing that trademark and copyright protect different types of items? While copyright protects artistic, musical, and literary work, trademark protects business designs and logos. You can apply a trademark to anything that identifies as a brand’s product.
What it Means to Trademark My Logo
Always remember that the trademark is for customers and not for business owners. Consumers don’t have much time to evaluate a product's or service's qualities. For instance, many car owners don’t know what is inside the Mercedes Benz’s hood. Also, some computer users might not know the components inside their Dell CPU. And you only know that Colgate manufactures the white paste to clean the teeth. You trust these brands for your products because they have a trademark.
When customers purchase products for the first time, they memorize the logo's characteristics. If your product is reliable, they will develop an exception and link it with the logo. Whenever they find the logo on any product, they will consider it your brand and purchase it considering their previous experience.
What it Means to Copyright My Logo
There are many ways in which copyright protects your business logo. When you copyright your business logo, you limit others from using it without your permission. However, you can offer legal rights to other brands to use your logo. But that rarely happens as the business logo acts as your business identity. Copyright is not valid for business logos, but anyone can use it to protect their artistic work. Most artists with huge audiences copyright their logo for protection. However, small businesses can also copyright their business logo.
Should I Copyright or Trademark My Logo?
Trademark and copyright have similar functions for your business logo. The difference is the type of intellectual property you can legally protect. Most artists use copyright to protect their short stories, novels, and songs. Furthermore, copy-righted artwork includes those items that don’t exist for commercial use. Meanwhile, a trademark protects the intellectual property available for commercial use. For instance, you can trademark brand names, taglines, and logos. That’s why many experts suggest that you should get a trademark for your business logo.
Changing your copyright and trademark logo can be a costly and time-consuming task. Therefore, you have to choose the logo's final version and save yourself from stressful tasks. Here are some pointers you should consider while choosing a business logo to avoid trademark and copyright issues.
1. Learn about Trademark and Copyright
Many business owners don’t know the basics of trademark and copyright. They struggle to understand the importance of the terms and ignore them. As a result, they can’t protect their business logo. Another brand can easily steal your unique logo and get a trademark for their business.
2. Be Imaginative
Keep in mind that you can’t change your logo again and again once getting a trademark. Thus, you should take your time to create a perfect logo. Think creatively and try different approaches to create a perfect logo.
3. Avoid Generic and Descriptive Terms
A simple and relevant logo grabs more audience attention than generic or descriptive logos. You should specify the purpose, characteristics, and quality of the logo.
Overall, copyright and trademark both protect the intellectual property of the business. They allow the owner to use and share the legal rights. If you are looking for a simple answer to your question, “should I copyright or trademark my logo”, it is both. However, many businesses trademark their logo. If you want more information about choosing between copyright and trademark, consult an online legal service or a business attorney.