Registering your logo, as with any intellectual property, can be a complex process if you are unfamiliar with trademark law and the registration process. It is advisable that you visit a trademark professional before you file your registration application. However, if you wish to understand the steps involved, we have provided a concise version of the registration process.
For your logo to be eligible for registration, it must be unique, recognisable, and associative with the nature of your products and services. It is worth your while to invest time and money into your logo design. Brainstorm a number of logo names and concepts that are descriptive of your business nature and character. You might also choose to conduct market research to identify popular marketing trends in your marketplace.
A trademark expert will be able to give you some initial feedback on the eligibility of your mark. They can advise you on which concepts are suitable, and which are not: they will also inform you of whether or not your mark is truly unique.
Once you have designed your mark, you must conduct both cursory and comprehensive searches of your jurisdictions trademark databases. Your searches must include both the marketplace and the national trademarks register to unearth marks that are both identical and similar to your own. You may have to alter your mark so not to infringe on the rights of others, or you may find that your mark is truly individual.
The Trademark Office in your jurisdiction should provide a number of search tools to aid your search: however, it is advisable that you have a trademark expert conduct the searches on your behalf, as they understand how to manipulate the databases to reveal the best information, and they can professionally interpret the results.
Now that you have determined that your mark is eligible for registration, you must first draft and then submit your application to your Trademark Office. By submitting a high quality application, you ensure that you have the best chance of achieving registration. Your application should accurately describe your logo and its intended use. You must also select the correct classes of the services or products that the logo will identify. Your application should attempt to anticipate any objections that your examiner will make.
A trademark expert can draft and file your application for you. While this is a significant investment, it can actually be less expensive in the long run. If your application is rejected, or if another party raises objection to your application, you can incur legal expenses.
In examining your report, your examiner might find grounds for rejection. If you are issued a rejection notice, you have a certain amount of time to remedy these grounds before your application is truly rejected. You may be required to provide evidence of use of your logo in your business activities.
If you are issued a rejection notice, it is necessary to contact a trademark professional to assist you in amending your application, as well as preparing and filing evidence on your behalf.
Once your trademark application is accepted, it must undergo a three month period of opposition. If it passes those three months unopposed, your mark will be successfully registered. After this time, you have a six month period in which to pay your registration fee.
A trademark expert can assist you in ensuring that your mark is properly registered and in meeting all of the necessary deadlines.
Even once your trademark is registered, you must ensure that you uphold your rights to registration by frequently using your mark in marketing, advertising, packaging, and business correspondence. Your mark must be used in a consistent manner, and your competition must be made aware of your trademark rights. If you are licensing others to use your mark, you must ensure that your mark is always being used in the appropriate manner. You also need to monitor whether other businesses are using a mark similar to your own, and therefore whether they are infringing on your rights.
A trademark expert can assist in the management of your registration by monitoring each of these aspects. They can negotiate the legal implications of any infringement, as well as advise you on your licensing agreements.
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