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I Already Have my Word Mark Registered – Should I also Register my Logo?

In an ideal world, it is preferable to register both your word mark and your logo mark, if indeed you have a word mark and a logo mark, and that’s because if you simply register a plain word trademark, that doesn’t automatically give you protection for any logo form that might include those words. This is particularly relevant in the case of businesses that use logos that consist of very eye-catching graphical elements, or perhaps which also consist of taglines. In that sort of case, you would probably want to get additional protection so that you can stop potential infringes from using logos that are similar, even though they would not otherwise be similar with your word marks. Or if they’re similar to logo or some element within your logo, simply having your word mark registered weren’t necessarily protect you against that sort of situation.

That being said, it’s not always essential to register your logo mark if you already have a registration for the word mark. Generally speaking, your word mark registration would be sufficient to protect simple representations or minor stylisations of those words. A stylised representation of your words using a specific font, wouldn’t necessary be critical to register that in addition to the words. Nor would it necessarily be important to register a logo that had quite a simple word presentation such as a border or a flourish in addition to the stylised words.

It is often a question of how distinctive, how unique is your logo? If you have a very unique logo, then it would be helpful to register that logo. Before filing a new application, it is advisable to engage a trade mark attorney to undertake a search of the trade mark register for you. Even though you have a registration for your wordmark, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you would sail through if you file an application for your logo, particularly, again, if your logo includes other elements that are unique in their own right. It’s important to ensure that there isn’t something similar on the register already and get advice from an attorney if there is.

What is an example of a registered word mark versus a registered logo mark?

For example, Coca Cola is registered as a plain text word mark. As most will know, the brand is often represented in a very unique font type so in this case it is advisable to also register the logo mark, which Coca Cola has done. If your logo includes a font type that is totally unique to your business, and it’s very eye-catching, as in the Coca Cola logo, it is suggested you register your logo mark even if you have already registered your word mark.

I thought if I registered the words then the whole logo would be covered?

We speak to many people that think that not only that a logo is automatically protected by virtue of registering the main name or words, and also believe they can enforce it against third parties that have similar logos when this is not necessarily the case. Often there is an assumption that it is safe to use a logo simply because a word mark is registered, which again is not always the case. That’s another thing to be aware of, that simply because you have registered your trademark as a word mark, doesn’t necessarily mean that any logo that you choose to use, which includes those words, will be available for use because there may be another trader out there that has prior rights. So a prior registration, or even owns copyright in graphics, which are the same as, or very similar to, what you’ve chosen for your logo. So it’s important to clear your logo for use in registration, and also make sure that you own copyright in your logo. A good way to do that is either to design it yourself if you have the artistic capability or to employ a graphic designer and ensure that you own the copyright or it’s assigned to your business.

If you have registered your word mark (i.e. a business or brand name in plain text) and are not sure if you should also be registering a logo trade mark, please contact us and we’d be happy to review and provide recommendations.

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