Protect Well to Prosper: Protect Logo for a Viable Business

protect your Logo

Brands are not built within days. It takes years of cementing trust and credibility among customers to establish a successful brand. And in the journey of building a successful brand, brand logo plays the role of an important silent ambassador that not only distinguishes your business from your competitors but also makes your customers remember your brand in a glance. After all you do want your brand name to linger in your customer’s minds. But if you are new to business and market, there may be many head scratching questions that you may have in your mind. One of these question would certainly be about how and why to protect your logo? Let’s address these doubts.

Why should you protect your brand logo or brand name?

By definition, your logo design is a visual representation of whatever your brand offers-products, services and even your company’s ethos. It is more than just a design. Same goes for your company or brand name. It is not just a name but your business identity. Hence, not protecting your logo or company name is like leaving a house unlocked on a street prone to theft.

It takes ideas, money and most importantly, time, to establish a brand which ultimately becomes your asset. It may be intangible but weighs a lot more than the yearly revenue of a company. Thus protecting your logo design or brand name must be a priority.

Understanding trademark registration:

Once you decide to protect your logo design, it is important to understand what methods of protection are available for you. Under intellectual property rights, logo and company name can be protected through trademark. According to the World Intellectual Property Organization, ‘a trademark is a sign capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one enterprise from those of other enterprises.’ Logo trademark gives an exclusive right to its owner and also provides an upper hand in case of any legal dispute takes place pertaining to infringement of the trademark. Thus a trademark protects the attributes of a brand from a legal perspective and ensures that no other player in the market knowingly or unknowingly, exploits someone else’s brand image for their own profit.

Once you decide to protect your logo design, it is important to understand what methods of protection are available for you. Under intellectual property rights, logo and company name can be protected through trademark. According to the World Intellectual Property Organization, ‘a trademark is a sign capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one enterprise from those of other enterprises.’ Logo trademark gives an exclusive right to its owner and also provides an upper hand in case of any legal dispute takes place pertaining to infringement of the trademark. Thus a trademark protects the attributes of a brand from a legal perspective and ensures that no other player in the market knowingly or unknowingly, exploits someone else’s brand image for their own profit.

Why not have copyright for your logo?

When we talk about business, the prime goal for a company is to be able to protect its distinctive marks or signs that it is using to establish itself in the market. Copyright offers no protection for short phrases which a logo contains; this is protected if you register logo as trademark.

It is important to understand that trademark registration is not mandatory in India. However, trademark registration offers several advantages like:

  • Exclusive right to use the mark nationwide with respect to the goods or services sought in the registration
  • Protects public from buying the goods of sub standard quality.
  • Advertises goods and services of the proprietor
  • Remedies available in case of infringement

Rights without trademark registration:

Trademark registration is a must for businesses. However, it does not mean, that unregistered trademarks have no rights at all. While registered trademarks can avail statutory remedy, unregistered trademarks can avail remedy under common law. In some cases, an unregistered trademark can avail common law benefits. In India, unregistered marks are defined as ‘marks which are not registered in relation to goods or services (that is names, marks or logos used in relation to a business)’ under the Trademark Act. These can be defended by means of ‘common law tort of passing off.’ In this case it is important to establish that unregistered mark has comparable goowill or reputation in relation to the product or service with which it is used.

A good trademark is more than just a name:

Naming a brand or company is not an easy task especially if you want to get it trademarked. In order to get your logo or company name trademarked, there are a few important points that need to be kept in mind.

It is important to conduct a trademark search before you zero in on a name. Ultimately is not only about having a fancy or catchy brand name but you need a name which is available for use. A trademark search helps you in this regard. Trademark search lets you know if there is any

similar trademark available for the name that you are thinking, and thus helps you to decide whether you should go ahead with the name or not. For obvious reasons, you would want to ward off any probability of trademark litigation in future by having similar logo trademark.

Also, you must remember that a good trademark has certain characteristics. These must be:

  • easy to speak, spell and remember
  • invented words or coined words or unique geometrical designs
  • distinctive
  • not be descriptive or deceptively similar
  • not be laudatory word or words that describe the quality of goods (such as best, perfect, super etc.)

Apart from the above points, selecting a mark that can be used both as a trading name and domain name and is also available for registration is the right way to proceed.

The bottom line is that investing on trademarks is not a futile investment as many may believe. It is in fact, one of the first steps towards building a strong brand and a long term IP asset.

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