Do I Need To Reapply For A Trade Mark Registration When A Logo Is Updated?

A distinctive logo is often a pivotal element of any successful brand strategy and savvy business operators will guard and protect this valuable asset by registering it as a trade mark.

However, holding onto market share and competing for customers’ attention in the crowded and competitive business space means marketers have to be on their toes constantly to make sure their brand remains visible.

If a brand has evolved over time (which many brands do), a logo refresh may be necessary to bring the visual language back in alignment with what the brand stands for.  A brand may also need to adapt its visual language to suit the modern digital age and to ensure that it is consistent across all media platforms.

Tweaking the logo is very common as brands respond to changing attitudes and trends, but what are the ramifications if the original logo was a registered trade mark?

Some background on trade mark registration

There are many different types of trade marks including a word, a phrase, a sound, shape, colour, scent or commonly, a figurative sign such as a logo.

Trade mark registration gives the owner exclusive rights to use that particular mark for the goods or services it is registered for.  Registration provides legal protection against others infringing on those rights as well as a defence against others who may allege that you are infringing their trade mark.

When a trade mark is registered, protection is only effective for the mark as it appears on the application.  This means there can be no ambiguity about a particular mark, nor can there be any room for misinterpretation.

Even the slightest amendment – for example, a rounded edge of part of a logo changed to a sharp one, a slogan in a different font – represents a departure from the parameters of the trade mark that was accepted for registration.

What to do when you update a logo?

When a logo is refreshed, a new application may need to be filed.   It may be possible to apply for an amendment, but these are allowed only in certain circumstances. Particularly, there cannot be any real change to the identity of the trade mark in order for an amendment to be allowed.

Imagine that a logo is a ‘contract’.  If some of the words in the contract were changed – even a single word – the new version would have to be signed and agreed by all of the parties involved in order for it to be legally binding.  The same principle applies when a logo is updated.  A refreshed logo becomes can become a whole new trade mark that requires a new application to be filed to ensure it is protected by legally enforceable rights.

How easy is it to register an updated logo as a trade mark?

Even if your brand identity has done an outstanding job building substantial equity over the years, it may be time for a refresh to maintain momentum and capitalise on new opportunities.

However, the field of trade mark law is complex and mistakes made or delays incurred in the application process for registration of the updated logo can be costly.

MMW Trademark Services always recommend involving a trade marks specialist at the outset of any brand update journey so that you avoid unnecessary delays and ensure the best possible protection for your valuable asset.

Having a trade marks attorney on your side means you get the benefit of their experience navigating this dynamic and intricate field, enabling you to make good, long-term decisions.

If your business is considering updating its logo and you need an affordable trade marks attorney, we welcome you to get in touch with our friendly team at Mark My Words Trademark Services.  Our highly experienced trade marks attorneys we will ensure the best outcome for your organisation, efficiently and cost-effectively.

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