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 licence your logo for use on products, packaging or on a multitude of other itby franchisees.
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 via the gov.uk website.
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 this, 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 fee for registering a trade mark 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 inexpensive for a startup business, £20 a year to protect your brand is worthwhile compared to the losses you could make to 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 sweat if another business is looking similar to yours, but is outside your industry. If you’re not competing for business, a co-incidence isn’t ideal, but is unlikely to concern the Patent Office.
Abell Design is a graphic design studio in York UK. We specialise in design for brand and communications. Take a look at our recent work here.