Tuesday Tip: Copyrights, Trademarks, Registered Trademarks, and Making the Right Choice for Your Logo

10 years ago

Now that you’ve created your fabulous logo that is as awesome and as unique as the brand it represents, you definitely want to be certain that no one else will have anything like it.  Right?  How do you know if you need a copyright, a trademark, or a registered trademark?  What’s the difference?  Here’s a quick guide to help make your decision a little easier.


A copyright applies to authored works, such as writing, music, and tangible works of art.  It is designated with the symbol ©. Copyrights do not apply to names, titles, slogans or phrases, designs, symbols, methods, ideas, or discoveries.  Thus, a copyright is generally insufficient legal protection for your logo.


A trademark can apply to a word, phrase, symbol, or design.  The symbol ™ designates a trademark.  It both identifies and distinguishes the goods or property of one party from the goods or property of another party.  However, a trademark does not prevent another company from using a similar design, symbol, name, or phrase.  So, while it might distinguish your logo from that of another company or brand, it doesn’t provide you with much legal protection.

Registered Trademarks

A registered trademark is a federal designation of legal ownership, which is registered through the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  It is designated with an ® symbol.  This legally prevents another party from using a design that is too similar to yours.  If you truly want to make your logo yours, then you might consider a registered trademark.

The copyright, registered trademark, and trademark symbols
The copyright, registered trademark, and trademark symbols


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