Your business has a unique name; now it needs a recognizable logo too. Having a logo is essential to build a distinct visual representation of your brand.
Moreover, your logo needs to reflect your niche and brand personality. Remember, it needs to be unique enough and not resemble a competitor’s logo.
It takes a lot of thought and effort to create a business logo. After designing a compelling and resonating design, you want to prevent it from getting pirated.
Brand names and logos are a part of your business or brand’s DNA. That’s why it’s essential to consider copyright, be it a symbol of a famous eatery or superhero logos.
But first, we need to know:
What is Copyright?
It protects original works, including songs, paintings, books, and other works in physical form. Companies opt for copyright to protect their audios, videos, and other work, such as logo design.
It’s worth noting that every original work is copyrighted at the time of its creation. But you need to register it so that others don’t use it for their gains.
After copyright, you become a legal owner of your creative design and have a document to prove your claim. And then, if someone tries to steal your original creation, you can sue them and protect your identity.
Moreover, if you opt for federally registered copyright, you can control your intellectual property usage, publication, and distribution.
You can also prevent others from using it for their purposes. If someone still does, you can sue them in a federal court.
When it comes to copyright protection of your logo, it needs to have the required creativity level to be considered copyrightable. This way, it will become easier to get it copyrighted.
Know that if you own a simple logo, it might not qualify for copyright. However, if it is artistic or ornate, it will become easier to have your copyright registered.
Registration of Copyright
There’s no need to register the copyright for your logo design. However, considering statutory damages, you can register your business logo if you need to sue someone.
You can add the copyright symbol “©” as it tells people that you own the design and others can’t claim it. Moreover, if you don’t want to incorporate the symbol in the logo. You can include a notice with the image to tell people that it’s registered.
Here’s How You Can Protect your Business Logo Using Copyright Laws
Your business logo is your asset and represents your brand and reputation. You can protect it through the following steps.
Submit the Application
You can find the copyright form online with ease. The next step is to download and fill it, providing precise information.
Moreover, you can submit electronic and paper versions of the form online by visiting the United States Copyright Office website. For the online filling, you can click on the Electronic Copyright Office login icon. You need to create an account and submit your application, following the instructions provided to you.
Go to the above link for the paper form and click on the “Visual Arts” to download the form. This form is mainly designed for creative work, such as images, graphics, etc. You need to print the form first and fill it providing the correct information.
The form also features options to provide personal information, author’s or owner’s name with the nature of copyright documentation. Remember to provide a payment method, contact information, and handwritten signature.
Pay Registration Fee
If you don’t know, the registration fee is $39, whereas you need to pay $65 to send your paper application form. However, focus on the following points before making payment to copyright a logo.
- This fee is non-refundable.
- You can pay via credit card if you’re applying online.
- You pay via money order or cheque if you’re applying via mail.
- If you’re renewing your copyright claim, ensure to submit a paper application (Form RE).
Send Copies of your Logo Design
You need to submit two copies of your business logo if it has been published on other platforms. On the other hand, you only need to send one copy if it was never posted publicly. Remember, you will not get these copies back.
Moreover, you are expected to share a digital version of your logo with an online application if you’re processing it. Still, you need to send the hard copy of your logo design later.
Wait for a Confirmation Email
Once you’ve uploaded the logo file and a registration fee, you will receive a confirmation about copyright registration. This step will also showcase a pending status for your application approval.
Remember, your copyright will be considered from the date of application submission instead of the time of approval.
Logo Design Copyright Laws with an Example
Analyzing the examples of copyright laws makes the entire concept more straightforward and more relatable. For instance, you’ve opted for a logotype using another designer’s typeface. And suppose you’ve paid for the typeface’s license.
But does that mean you can alter the typeface as per your requirement? Or, are you permitted to resell that specific typeface to someone?
Questions like these may confuse you, but they aren’t as daunting as they seem. You don’t find any laws regarding the protection of typeface designs. But there are restrictions in place. Copyright doesn’t protect designs until it features artistic elements that are separate from the overall design.
For example, if you’ve opted for a simple variation in typographic ornamentation, such as slight changes in lettering, it doesn’t need to be copyrighted.
What Do Designers Need to Know About Copyright Laws?
As a modern-day designer, you need to be aware of copyright laws and the process of copyright registration for various reasons.
There’s no harm in staying aware of your surroundings, especially when the environment is competitive. Unfortunately, everyone wants to reach the top and doesn’t hesitate to do anything to reach that level, even if it means stealing someone’s work.
Therefore, it’s essential to copyright your business logo and steers clear of future conflicts.
Considering the competition in industries, it sounds smart to have your business logo protected. It’s even better to understand the rules of protecting your creative designs to protect them from getting pirated.
Lastly, the laws are simple to follow. The process doesn’t involve several complex steps either. Therefore, stay aware of the competitive environment and prevent your logo designs from infringement.
About the Author
Anas Hassan is a design consultant at leading branding agency Logo Poppin. He has a deep interest in exploring trends of graphic design and digital marketing. Beside this, he is an avid football fan and enjoys an occasional steak dinner.