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Should I register more than one logo?

It’s quite common for businesses to use more than one logo or stylised trade mark for their goods or services. And deciding whether to register more than one logo, or alternatively deciding which logo to register as your trade mark depends on a few factors.

The first one would be how different are the logos that you’re using. If a business has several logos which are all very similar and they contain the same essential elements, perhaps just in different configurations. So maybe a vertically stacked logo versus a horizontally stacked logo, then there’s likely no need to register those different representations of essentially the same thing. Rather we would suggest in those cases that you register the particular logo that you most commonly use. On the other hand, if you’re using two or more, very different logos, then it would be wise to register each of those logos separately.

So for instance, your business might have a logo that consists of stylised words and a simple graphic, and then perhaps a different logo that includes the same words, but together with a very different graphic and an eye-catching one. In that case, that would be an entirely different logo, and best practice would be to register both of your logos because they’re different.

In summary, the objective is to protect visually distinct trade marks so as to prevent other traders from using trade marks that are the same or similar to those trade marks. And you won’t necessarily achieve that if you only register one of your visually distinct marks. Also worth noting, registration of a logo mark that incorporates a name does not provide registration/protection of the name when used in plain word format – that would require its own registration.

These days with most businesses online it’s quite common to see businesses using different logos. It’s particularly common when there are different ranges of products involved as different ranges might have different logos.

Some businesses change logos over time, and, then the question is, are you using all of your logos? When you have had different logos developed over time for your goods or services it is a good idea to have a ‘stock-take’ every five years or so and say, “Okay, which trade marks are we still using, because we’ve modified it over time.” And you may find that the trade mark you have originally registered isn’t the one that you’re using anymore, because you’ve updated your logo over time. And in that case, you want to make sure that you register the new logo.

I have multiple logos, do I have to register them separately or can they be covered on one registration?

As touched on above, if your logos are essentially the same – being that they incorporate the same words with the same image but perhaps simply depicted in different layouts – you may not need to register each of them. You would just pick one, preferably the one that you most commonly use or the one that you consider to be your primary logo.

However, if the logos are very different, for example if they have different graphical elements or the word component is different they should be registered separately. You could not have them registered in the one application.

The process and costs to register a logo mark are the same as a word mark/name. Essentially, a trade mark is any ‘sign’ one trader uses to distinguish their goods or services from the similar activities of others. A ‘sign’ can be a name, image or combination of these among other things. Best practice is therefore to register each trade mark in its own right to ensure it is protected.

It is a common assumption that registering a logo mark that may contain, for example, a core business name, image and tagline protects each of those elements individually or protects variations of that logo (e.g. the same logo without the tagline), when, that’s not the case.

One of the most common things we see is businesses assuming that the original logo registration covers modified versions or updates that may occur over time. As suggested above, we do encourage businesses to review their registrations against the actual trade marks in use over time to ensure the version used is the version registered. Trade marks become vulnerable to removal if not used after a certain period of time so it is possible for an old version of a company’s logo to be removed from the trade mark register if that’s not the version used any longer. And, if they haven’t registered their new logo, then they could have a problem. This could result in the old version being removed and no protection in place for the new.

There are also occasions where business register only their name as a word mark and think that’s enough. Whilst this that will be good enough if you’re wanting to stop other traders using similar words, it’s won’t assist in preventing others using similar graphics/images.

I have changed the colour of my logo, do I need to re-register a trade mark?

In Australia if you’re just changing the colour, you will not likely have to register a new trade mark. This is because in Australia the trade mark is registered to cover all colours unless it’s been specifically restricted to certain colours. So, even if, for example, you first uploaded a blue copy then unless you restricted the trade mark to blue you would still be covered for use in other colours.

It is possible to restrict your trade mark registration to specific colours, in which case, yes, you may need to get new trade mark registration if your colours change.

So if you change the colour of your trade mark, that’s not something that usually needs to be reflected by a new trade mark registration – just double check the original registration to see if there was any colour limitation. But if you change the font and the layout and even change the images within logo, that’s likely to be considered a new logo and it probably should be registered.

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