Trademarking a Logo Design

After a branding project is complete, you should be rightfully proud of your new logo. It’s a unique emblem of your business, and any graphic designer worth their salt will create something original for you.

While a licence for copyright will be already arranged between the designer and yourself, trademarking your logo is your responsibility. ­

It’s not a legal obligation to register a trademark, but it can certainly help, especially in cases when a competitor’s brand is too close for comfort.

Additionally, you’ll be able to place the ® symbol alongside your logo, which signifies that the use of your logo design is yours alone.

You may be a startup now, but your business will achieve success over time. Other businesses might desire to collaborate with you. Registering your trademark will mean that you can license your logo for use on products, packaging or on a multitude of other items by franchisees.

How to register your trademark

A great tip (which I use) to ensure that nobody else has a similar logo design to you, is a reverse image search in Google Images. While it feels rudimentary and has no guarantee of catching every occurrence this is a very powerful tool for avoiding embarrassment.

If nobody else is using your brand, you can breathe a sigh of relief and thank your graphic designer.

Now, check that nobody else has trademarked your name or logo. You can do this in the UK via the gov.uk website.

There should be no matches within your industry. If there are some close matches, there may be trouble attaining a successful trademark registration. So, at this stage, work with your designer to ensure that your logo design is truly distinctive.

The most convenient way to register your trademark is online again, via the gov.uk website.

How long does registering a trademark take?

If there are no queries or concerns to slow the process, registration takes about four months.

Your trademark registration is yours for a decade. After ten years, you will have to apply for renewal. This is a perfect time to assess your brand design and consider what you’d like to remain trademarked and what items need refreshing. Get in touch with me if you’d like to do that.

The cost of trademark registration in the UK

The fee for registering a trademark is made up of different parts, depending on your needs. Expect to spend in the region of £200 in total. While this is certainly not cheap for a startup business, £20 a year to protect your brand is worthwhile compared to the losses you could make from a competitor trading off your hard work.

Finally, it’s good to bear in mind that there are a finite number of shapes, images and words which comprise a brand design. Don’t be anxious if another business is looking similar to yours, but is outside your industry. If you’re not competing for business, a coincidence isn’t ideal, but is unlikely to concern the Patent Office.

Grace Abell is a brand and communications designer in York, UK. View her portfolio here. Contact Grace at grace@abelldesign.co.uk.

Abell Design is a brand and digital design studio in York. Creating beautiful brands for ambitious organisations. Say hello at grace@abelldesign.co.uk