If you are looking to patent a logo, you are not alone but patent law does not protect logos. Many people get confused about intellectual property so keep reading this article to learn which intellectual property right can protect your logo. The main intellectual property rights are:
- Trade Secret
In general terms, without going into the necessary requirements to obtain copyright or trademark rights, I need to know as your trademark attorney, how you are using that logo. If you don’t want people to copy your logo, then we would explore registering the copyright and/or registering the trademark.
- If your intention is to represent a product or service that you offer with the logo, you are approaching the trademark right.
- If you don’t know what you are going to use it for, but you are so proud of your original work of art that you want to protect it, then you would pursue a copyright.
- If you identify yourself with both examples, you will have to register both the copyright and the trademark rights.
For example, take the Starbucks logo. When you see a cup of coffee from Starbucks at the movies, or in a magazine, you easily identify this logo as Starbucks’ logo. A trademark protects the reputation of your band, embodied in a symbol, sound, smell, or word. However, it doesn’t necessarily protect you from people that want to steal your creative work.
Let’s say, someone loves the beautiful siren inside the Starbucks logo. They copy it and slightly tweak it but it’s obvious that it’s a stolen work of art. Copyright law would protect the artistic value of the work creation, in addition to the trademark protection you would pursue for your brand reputation. In other words, that consumers don’t get confused with similar branding for related goods or services.
A patent is a right (power to exclude others from using) that the government gives a person in exchange for it describing in detail the exact nature of their invention, that is, in exchange for anyone to create and use the product or technology, through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The government wants to promote the progress and development of its citizenship and when people share their discoveries, more discoveries arise. Examples of things patentable: safety pin, clothes hangers, remote control, umbrella, bluetooth, etc.
What is the right that the government confers on these inventors in exchange for their ideas? The right to prevent anyone from using their invention without their permission for a term of 17 years. This term of time is what is known as the life of the patent.
The information of your discovery will be public once you apply for the patent but you will be protected in case someone uses your idea without your permission. Pretty much you will sell that right through a license agreement. A license being a permission to use the patent in exchange for anything valuable (almost always money).
Do you have a new design, product or technology, not obvious, useful and susceptible to being exploited commercially? Then, you should consider the patent right.
In some instances, when you want your invention to remain potentially yours forever, you need to implement a trade secrets policy. For example, you create the most succulent fried chicken recipe, just like KFC, and you don’t want anyone to know what makes your fried chicken so freaking tasty. If you go for a trade secrets policy, it’s your responsibility to protect, at all times, your trade secret.
Now you know that you can’t patent a logo. Still not sure how to protect your intellectual property? Don’t know if you should file for a copyright, patent, trademark, trade secrets or a combination of these? Don’t worry, contact Solid Rep at 787-647-6336 or at [email protected]