Importance of copyrighting a logo
Copyright is vital for every creative individual and business. Elements such as your logo play a critical role in establishing your brand. Because of this, it is natural to feel concerned about someone copying your original works. Making your logo copyrightable by adding a copyright symbol is critical to protect your original work from being copied. We’re here to assist you in protecting your original work from copyright infringement.
- Why is copyrighting a logo so critical?
- Should I copyright or trademark my logo?
- How to copyright your logo in Washington, DC
- Gain rights to your creativity with an attorney
A copyrighted logo is protected as an artistic work. Unauthorized usage of your logo is an infringement of copyright. No one can use any of your original works fixed in a tangible form without your permission.
Should I copyright or trademark my logo?
“Can I copyright my logo?” is a common misconception. To answer this correctly, distinguish between what works are subject to copyright and trademark. Registrations serve various purposes, and there are numerous ways to be protected by copyright law.
Generally, if you use your logo for commercial value, you should register ownership of the trademark. By registering your trademark, you guarantee that people identify your brand. You may protect your logo if it is your original work and is non-commercial. As with a piece of art, copyright ownership preserves your logo’s originality.
Learn the differences between trademark and copyright protection to determine which you need.
What is protected by copyright?
Copyright protects your original works of authorship in a tangible medium of expression. If you use your logo for purposes other than selling products and services, you should apply for copyright registration.
Copyrights protect items like books and articles, photographs, illustrations, web pages, music and sound recordings, and computer programs from being reproduced by others without the creator’s consent. The copyrighted material is unrelated to the commercial products or services. You may place copyright restrictions on your logo.
Your logo can be subject to copyright if it is an original work of authorship, such as a computer-rendered design, sketch, writings, painting, or photograph.
What cannot be copyrighted but trademarked instead?
Trademarks help consumers recognize the origin of goods and services. Your logo serves as a trademark for the products or services you sell under your brand’s name. Using a trademark registration application allows you to prevent others from using your trademark on similar products or services.
Typically, trademarks cover things such as business names, slogans, taglines, and logos. They are intended to serve as a source identifier for goods or services. Registering a trademark prevents others from using your mark to similar goods or services.
So, if you’re investing in your company’s brand, make sure to register your trademark.
How to copyright your logo in WA, DC
If you value the artistic originality in your logo and want to register it as a copyright, follow these steps:
- Visit the US Copyright Office registration website
- Select “Electronic Copyright Registration” and create an account
- Fill out the application form
- If your logo is the artistic work of a professional designer, be careful to include proof of
- work made for hire from the creators to you.
- Submit payment online
- Upload or mail in a copy of your logo
- Wait for approval and your registration certificate and necessary licenses
The Copyright Office also has an eCO FAQ page to address common concerns.
There you have it. Nothing beats the feeling of knowing that you have exclusive rights to an original work you made from scratch.
Determining Your Logo’s Copyright Eligibility
Logos are not always copyright-protected material.
If a trademark, logo, or label is only a collection of words, the United States Copyright Office will not register it. Simply using various fonts or colors, frames, and borders also does not qualify for copyright protection.
Logos are protected under copyright law if they contain artistic or design elements.
Examples of trademark and copyright-eligible logos include Disney characters (such as Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck), the Car Credit City logo, and the Baltimore Ravens logo.
Copyrighting Your Logo Is Beneficial
If you think your logo qualifies for copyright protection, the next logical question is: why bother to register the copyright? The following are a few of the many advantages.
- Labeling, packaging, or advertising content eligible for copyright can be violated without a trademark.
In certain circumstances, copyright infringement is easier to prove than trademark infringement.
Copyrights exist to safeguard your creative work. The attention is on the works’ resemblance. On the other hand, to prevent consumer confusion, trademark infringement analyses focus on a series of tests, including the relatedness of products, the validity of the mark, marketing channel overlap, and proof of real confusion.
- Trademark infringement does not require copyright infringement.
If you want to protect your brands, trademark registration is vital.
To recap, only artistic and design elements used in trademarks are protected by copyright laws in the US. The rest of your logo may not be protected. For example, if an infringer substitutes a different logo or label but uses the exact wording of your mark, it would likely be actionable as trademark infringement.
Copyright registration requires only an original work of authorship that contains at least a slight amount of creativity.
Trademark registration is more complicated. You must demonstrate that the mark identifies a provider of goods or services. Ideally, trademarks should be suggestive, arbitrary, or fanciful to obtain registration. While descriptive marks may gain commercial recognition and then registrability, typically descriptive marks must be filed for registration in the Supplemental Register. A generic trademark is not protected by trademark law. Copyright law’s requirement of minimal creativity does not analyze works of authorship with the same scrutiny.
Even if your mark is suggestive, arbitrary, or fanciful, it is still possible that the USPTO won’t register it if it determines that it logo may confuse consumers as to the source of your goods or services. Confusion among consumers is unimportant to copyright legislation.
In sum, even if the USPTO declines to register your trademark, copyright law may be able to help protect you.
Gain rights to your creativity with an attorney
Even when your trademark hasn’t been infringed in the case at hand, copyright law may be able to provide more robust protection. To obtain further legal protection for your logo, you need to include a copyright notice. A trademark registration and notice on its own may not be enough.
Copyrights offer various legal benefits in addition to those of registered trademarks, such as punitive damages. An intellectual property lawyer can help you decide the best line of action for safeguarding your copyrights, trademarks, and other intellectual property. Whether you want to raise copyright issues or learn more about copyright violations, our team of dedicated copyright attorneys at War IP Law can provide you with the assistance you need and a plan of action.