How to patent a logo?

How to patent a logo?

We often hear the question “How to patent a logo?” from our clients. A “patent for a logo”, however, does not exist. Logos and brands cannot be patented: Patents are granted only for inventions, i.e. technical solutions, e.g. machines, chemical compounds, production methods.

However, a logo can be easily and effectively protected by law:

A logo may be protected as a trademark or as a registered industrial design.

 

TRADEMARK

A much broader protection is obtained by protecting a logo as a trademark, however the procedure takes at least about half a year.

A trademark is protected for specific goods and/or services. When applying for registration of a trademark, it is therefore necessary to specify for which goods and/or services the mark will be used.

If we protect a trademark being a logo and it contains a wording, then – as long as this wording has distinctive character – it is also protected. Non-distinctive wordings are, for example: the word “milk” in relation to dairy products, or the phrase “good shoes” in relation to a shoe store.

Infringement of a trademark regisration takes place if the consumer could think that the goods / services bearing a certain mark come from the same entrepreneur, or from entrepreneurs related to him, as the goods / services bearing an earlier, registered trademark.

There is no requirement of novelty when applying for a trademark: the logo can be used for many years before it is registered as a trademark to the office.

 

DESIGN

We can obtain a registration of a Community design within two weeks, however, the scope of protection of a logo as a design. i.e. an industrial (Community) design, is much narrower than in the case of trademark protection.

Namely: the scope of protection granted under the Community design rules covers any design which does not produce a different overall impression on the informed user.

If we protect a logo as a design, and this logo contains a wording, then this wording is not protected. The wording is treated as a graphic element of the design only.

Infringement of the design registration occurs when the area of exclusivity granted to the holder of the registration is invaded by a person who is not authorized to use the design for commercial or professional purposes. This exclusivity covers any design the features of which differ only in insignificant details from the registered design and/or which does not produce a different overall impression on the informed user than the registered design.

There is a requirement of novelty when registering a design: logos might have been publicly available for a maximum of 12 months before the application date, and their first discosure must have been made by the design applicant, or under his permission.

 

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