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Should you copyright or trademark your logo?

So you’ve spent hours thinking up the perfect logo for your business.

Never mind it took you months and months to come up with your business name, but you’ve mulled over what colors to use, whether to include a graphic to convey your mission, and you may have even hired a designer to bring it all to life.

After all the back and forth to get it juuuust right, you’re ready to unveil it.

Now what?

Don’t put all your genius in jeopardy and waste time and money.

Protect your logo! If you hired a graphic designer or even if you had a friend or relative help with creating the design, be sure you have something in writing that says you are the owner of your logo.

Trust me, you’ll thank me later.

Logos are one of the few pieces of intellectual property that may qualify for both copyright and trademark protection.

Here are some essential key points to consider.

First, it’s important to understand the difference between copyrights and trademarks.

COPYRIGHT

Copyright protects original creative works in tangible form. It does not protect colors, fonts, or designs. It is really hard to protect your logo using a copyright because colors and fonts aren’t copyrightable.

Now, does this mean you shouldn’t copyright your logo? Well, no. In fact, I recommend that all original work be copyrighted especially if it is particularly complex, intricate, and you spent a significant amount of time and money designing it.

TRADEMARKS

Trademarks, however, protect tangible works in the marketplace, which essentially means trademarks are used to identify a brand and prevent consumer confusion with other brands.

A trademark for your logo is especially important if you want to establish a strong brand in the marketplace. With so much Internet theft, spending money to create a logo and then failing to trademark it is sure to be a waste.

Consider this. You’ve got your new logo on everything – your website, your business cards, your Facebook Page, and you’re even offering a t-shirt for sale on your site.

Then you get a letter in the mail demanding you to remove your logo because you are infringing on someone else’s trademarked brand.

You may be forced to redesign your logo, website, or even come up with a new name for your company if you didn’t trademark that too.

On top of paying legal fees, you may also be responsible for repayment of money earned during the trademark violation. Ouch!

While you can use both copyrights and trademarks to protect your logo, trademarks offer the highest level of protection available.

The bottom line: Protect your logo!

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