A Logo Copyrights and Trademark Comprehensive Guide

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A Comprehensive Guide to Logo Design and Copyrights/Trademark Law

Once you have your business logo design, you need to consider getting its copyrights. Now, it may be a bit confusing to figure out what logo copyrights are, but that’s why we are here, right?

If you have just started a business (blog, website, store), and got a brand new logo then it is important to consider getting your logo copyrights right from the beginning.

Your brand logo symbol represents your business and is one of the first things that people may notice about it. So, you need to protect your original design when you are creating a logo and prevent other people from copying it by getting a copyright or trademark registered.

The process is quite simple and easy. You can register for a copyright of your logo design in the U.S. Copyright Office. All you have to do is fill out the application online and submit the fees. Once it’s approved, your logo design will be protected from infringement such as imitation or plagiarism.

What is a logo copyright?

A logo copyright is the legal protection that an owner or creator has over their artwork, pictorial, graphics or imagery. This is a legal right that allows them to claim ownership of the design and protect it against infringement. So, if anybody else tries to copy, share or publish your created design without permission or authorization, you can take legal action against them.

By getting your logo copyrights, you can make sure that your original design is not used by anyone else. For businesses, this is a crucial step to build brand recognition.

How Does Copyright Protect Your Logo Design?

The U.S. Copyright Office allows you to claim ownership of your authentic design as soon as it's created. Copyright protection can be obtained by the designer or brand owner for their logo design. This covers design elements of the logo like pictorial mark (Nike’s famous swoosh icon), illustration (Starbucks mermaid), and custom font designed to create the logo (Coca-Cola font).


However, you need to keep in mind that the idea behind a logo cannot be copyrighted; it’s only applied to the creation or expression. For instance, Apple could not have copyrighted the fruit for their logo design if they simply decided to use the design as it is. By creating an iconic logo concept inspired by a bitten apple, they could claim copyrights over the icon.

Once you create an artwork or illustration, it becomes your intellectual property. Since this doesn’t protect it from being copied or infringed by others, you can register for a copyright.

The law also allows the copyrights of a logo to be transferred from the designer or creator to business owner. You can get in touch with us to find out how you can get copyright ownership of your logo.

Why Should You Get Logo Copyrights?

A logo copyright is like a legal shield that protects your logo design from being used without authorization or permission. It gives you the power to control how your logo is shared or recreated on various print and digital mediums.

Here are the key reasons why you should get logo copyrights.

1. Protect Against Infringement

Without copyright ownership, anyone could use your logo design or copy it for different purposes. It could be used to promote their own brand or sold as a digital illustration or artwork to generate revenue as well. By filing for logo copyrights, you can protect it against unauthorized use or infringement. You should immediately think about obtaining logo copyrights once the design is finalized. This way, you can have peace of mind that nobody else will be using it publicly to promote their own business or products.

If somebody is using the logo or a similar design without permission from the owner, they can always take the other party to court. There have been quite a few cases where brands have taken legal action against others for infringing on their logo copyrights.

For example, in 2021, Nike took Mschf to court for their collaboration on ‘Satan Shoes’ with Lil Nas X. The shoes appeared similar to Nike's Air Max 97 and had a design that was very similar to their iconic ‘swoosh’. The case was later settled.

2. Full Ownership of the Logo

Getting logo copyrights can give you ownership of your design and graphics. This means that you have the sole right to use and reproduce your logo. Unless the owner gives permission, no one else can use the logo on any medium. For businesses or brands, this is very important as you can use images or pictorials to build recognition among the audience. That’s how major brands are born.

Take the example of Starbucks logo which is famous for its Mermaid illustration in green waves which was imitated by Sardarbuksh Coffee, and many similar vendors.


The copyright owner has control over how the logo is used and can act against anyone who publishes the design in print or digital mediums.

3. Use Logo for Brand Recognition

Finally, logo copyright also gives the owner the right to display the logo anywhere. This basically means that you can use it on banners, flyers, brochures, and social media headers to create awareness among the public. By registering for copyrights, you don’t have to worry about how the design is displayed in public. You can make sure that the brand style guide is being followed and your logo represents your business in the best way possible.

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How to Claim Logo Copyrights?

Now, the best way to file for copyright ownership of your logo design is to do it online. Before you get started with it, run a quick search on the website to see if your brand symbol appears too similar to others. The design needs to be creative and authentic.

Follow these steps to register for logo copyrights.

Step 1: Visit the US copyright website and enter all the relevant information after signing up

Step 2: Upload your logo file or send paper copies to the office

Step 3: Pay the registration fees

Step 4: Get approval after the application is filed.

Once you have claimed copyrights, you will have legal protection from the date you register for them. This means that if someone uses the logo or copies it while you are waiting for approval, you can sue them and file for damages.

What is a logo trademark?

A logo trademark provides exclusive rights to a business owner to use the icon, brand name or slogan to distinguish their products or services from the competitors. You can trademark the monogram or an image from the design as well. When you can get a trademark registered, you gain the right to use that logo to promote your brand and create an identity for your products.

The logo trademark is different from copyright in the way that it protects the USE of the logo in the market. Copyrights protect the original DESIGN or artwork from being used anywhere. It does not necessarily cover the use of the design to sell or promote different products. On the other hand, registering for a trademark gives the owner or creator the right to prevent others from using a similar icon or symbol to sell their items.

How to Get a Logo Trademarked

Here’s how you can register for a logo trademark at the USPTO.

Step 1: Search for trademarks on the website with the free tool, Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS)

Step 2: Pick your industry or category and enter the details about the business.

Step 3: Submit the Application and Fees

Step 4: Get approval

By running a trademark search on TESS, you can ensure that your symbol or icon is not like any others in the market. This is a very important step that can prevent your trademark application from being rejected by the USPTO. If you want, you can also hire an experienced attorney and work with a third party to get your logo trademark registered.

What to Know About Copyrights and Trademarks

While copyrights give peace of mind against the use of intellectual property without permission, trademarks are slightly more detailed. They are used to distinguish the goods or services of a brand from its competitors. A trademark can be registered for visual elements such as:

- Company name

- Tagline or Slogan

- Monogram or Lettermark

- Icon that can be used to identify the brand

By getting your logo trademarked, you can obtain the right to use that logo for marketing and branding your products and services. This is the next step for a brand or business owner looking to establish a name in their niche. You can get your logo copyrighted and trademarked as well.

According to U.S Copyright Office, the following elements are not covered against infringement:

- Name

- Words or Text

- Slogan

- Shapes and Symbols for ‘fair use

It is a good idea to get exclusive rights for using the visual elements of your logo for branding on print materials and digital channels. You can simply file to get your logo, brand name and icon trademarked with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

What’s the Difference between Logo Copyright and Trademark?

Logo copyright protects the original design of a logo, while a trademark protects the use of that logo in the market to distinguish brands and their products. Let’s take a look at some of the key differences between them.

Process of Registration

Logo copyrights do not require registration with the government to have legal protection. People who create their designs have ownership as soon as it’s created.

For the trademark, you need to visit a USPTO, which can grant you the rights to your visual brand elements.


Logo copyrights protect the design for the entire lifetime of the designer or brand owner who holds them. They continue to remain for a certain time after death as well.

Now, trademarks can potentially be renewed at any time as long as they are being used to sell products and services.

Protection of Design Elements

A logo copyright only protects the design of the logo from being used and copied. It is different from a trademark as that applies to the use of a brand symbol on products, advertising, and business materials. So, once you get your logo trademarked, you don’t have to worry about a competitor or other company using the same design or elements like font styles, icons, and even color.

Tiffany Blue, for example, is trademarked by the company and has been customized for the brand only. If any company tries to use the color, Tiffany & Co. can sue them for infringement.

Infringement Application

Logo copyrights are applied through claims for copyright infringement when the owner’s intellectual property is used without authorization.

It is a slightly different process for trademark infringement. You can file and take legal action against another party if they use or recreate your original work in print or across digital mediums like websites and social media networks.

Trademark infringement involves the use of a logo by a competitor business in a way that may confuse people about the brand and its products.

Let's say, you run a small business that sells homemade skincare products. You design a unique logo featuring a stylized drawing of a flower with your business name. If you obtain a copyright for your logo design, you can prevent others from copying or reproducing your logo without your permission. But if you also obtain a trademark for your logo, you can prevent others from using a similar design or logo that could be mistaken for your business.

The Nike "swoosh" is not only copyrighted, but it is also a registered trademark. This means that Nike has the exclusive right to use the "swoosh" logo on their products and services. The company can legally take action against other businesses if they use the same or an inspired design to sell their products.

What’s Next?

Before anything else, you can check out hundreds of templates in our Free Logo Creator and get started on Creating your own logo design ! Once you have an impressive logo for your brand, you can get the deliverables and obtain copyrights of your logo design from us.

You can get in touch with us via chat, email support @freelogocreator.com , or call us at +1 833-674-2890 to find out more about getting ownership transferred in your name as well. If you want to completely protect your brand identity design from being used by other businesses in your niche, you can get both copyright and trademark on your logo.