Can you trademark a design?

Yes, you can trademark a design as long as it's used in the promotion of you business. For example, you can trademark logos, product packaging, and color schemes.

This information was provided by our founding attorney, Xavier Morales, Esq. 

Yes, you can trademark a design as long as it's used in the promotion of your business. For example, you can trademark logos, product packaging, and color schemes.

For a company, securing a trademark provides exclusive rights, offering legal protection against trademark infringements. This protection is essential for business owners seeking to establish ownership and avoid consumer confusion in the marketplace.

To market your brand with the best possible legal support, you would be smart to register trademarks for the designs you will utilize in your marketing campaigns. Trademarks for designs are essentially the safety nets for your intellectual property, shielding your branded images from theft and misappropriation by your competitors.

Designs That You Can Trademark

Several types of designs can be trademarked. To successfully register such a trademark, the design you submit must be applied to the promotion of your business and the development of brand awareness. For instance, you cannot trademark photos in a gallery of products or merchandise. You can, however, trademark items like...

Remember, even unregistered trademarks, or common law trademarks, can offer some level of trademark protection based on usage in commerce. However, a registered trademark affords broader protection and the ability to bring legal action in federal court.

It's also worth noting that copyright is a different form of legal protection that applies to original works of authorship, including artistic works. While trademarks protect brand identifiers like logos and slogans, copyrights protect the creative expression found within marketing materials.

The decision to include a trademark symbol (™ for unregistered trademarks and ® for registered trademarks) on your marketing materials, product labels, or packaging is not just a matter of legal requirement but also a strategic choice that communicates your commitment to brand protection and ownership.

For reasons ranging from securing exclusive rights to avoiding legal complications, it's advisable for business owners to consider consulting a trademark attorney. A trademark attorney can offer legal advice throughout the trademark application process, help with responding to office actions, and assist in the enforcement of trademark rights.

The Process for Trademarking a Design

The trademark application process begins with a trademark search, ensuring that the mark you wish to register does not cause confusion with existing trademarks. This step is crucial to avoid office actions or legal action from other trademark owners. Filing fees are part of the application process, varying based on the type of mark, such as a standard character mark or a design mark.

Upon successful trademark registration, the trademark owner receives a registered trademark symbol, providing legal proof of ownership and trademark protection. This is crucial for enforcing rights against any trademark infringements that may occur.

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Xavier Morales, Esq.

About the Author

Xavier Morales, Esq.

Mr. Morales founded his trademark law practice in January 2007 with the goal of providing intellectual property expertise to entrepreneurs and businesses around the country. Since then, he has filed more than 6,000 trademarks with the USPTO. You can learn more about Xavier here.

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