Logos are visual brand ambassadors for any product or service. Logos and brand names are considered valuable business assets that define an identity of a company. Before reaching out into the marketplace, companies spend hours brainstorming on names and hiring designers to design their logos. Yet, often brands get caught in the initial stages because there already exists some brand with identical logo or brand name. Moreover, proceeding with it not only risks confusion for the marketplace but also risks the value and brand recognition; as desired. Besides, it is also not permitted in the eyes of law. How can founders and CEO’s decide what logo is trademark worthy of their investment without breaching the regulations?
Take a look at a few recommendations of how to ensure your logo is trademark ready:
every marketing guru will say ‘Keep It Simple’ but things are a slightly different in the legal arena
Selecting a Great Logo:
Based on global trademark laws, here are some recommendations on how to select a great logo .
1 | Similar logos- Big No No!
Before adopting a logo, a thorough research and bucket list of how to make it stand out among your competition is key. Hence, legal research by a registered trademark agent is a must. A trademark agent is someone who offers to conduct in-depth research and provides consultation on trademark filing and assessment. Trademark assessment is vital for assessing how your logo fulfills the criteria’s that are technical in nature and mandatory to be defined as trademark worthy. Getting this assessment is pivotal for every new business so that you are aware of any potential risks.
2 | Avoid: simple or descriptive logos
We all know a logo is brand communication tool and every marketing guru will say ‘Keep It Simple’ but things are a slightly different in the legal arena and especially when you want to design a trademark worthy logo. To register a logo, trademark law seeks logos that are inherently
- Distinguishable and
- Indirect yet Clear.
For instance, the term JETMASTER in respect of ordinary automotive equipment has no direct reference to the nature of the product but it still is distinctive and indirect while clear in terms of its speed and quality. This indirectness will make its logo trademark-worthy. On the contrary say a term like LUXE for an haute couture brand has direct reference its nature of luxury and is also a generic term that is not distinctive nor distinguishable from competitors. Thus, the logo name for this brand will not be considered trademark worthy. In our experience logos with low level of distinctiveness and high degree of simplicity and directness meet with rejection because they are
- hard to assess
- considered misleading to the consumers and
- unfair to existing entities in the same category.
While this does not necessarily mean you cannot register descriptive and simple logos , for example there exists brands such as Pizza Hut . Yet, descriptive logos will have hard time succeeding in new market penetration and intensive use of it will constantly meet with market and competition enabled limitations.
3 | Avoid single letters or Initials:
Often companies hire design agencies for creating their logos or brand kits. Therefore, in your brief you must make sure they understand the legal implications of your designs and objectives of an trademarks and an IP ownership. According to Nicomedia IP trademark experts, to make a logo trademark worthy one must avoid abbreviations, alphabetic or alpha-numeric initials unless backed by a full-form . For example: GT or KP but that do not have a long form. These are not considered distinctive due to its likelihood of common occurrence by other players in the industry.
Are you in the process of creating a new logo for your brand? Consult our trademark experts who can assist you in identifying if it is registration worthy or should you change it. Additionally, at Nicomedia IP we also offer recommendation on your trademark strategy and legal availability searches.