Can i trademark my design [Fact-Checked]

Last updated : Aug 20, 2022
Written by : Sherry Falchi
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Can i trademark my design

Is a design a trademark or patent?

Design patents protect the ornamental appearance of a unique looking design as applied to a product, which can be two-dimensional or three-dimensional. Design patents require registration with the USPTO whereas trademarks do not.

How do you know if a design is trademarked?

You can search all applied-for and registered trademarks free of charge by using the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)'s Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS). If your mark includes a design element, you will have to search it by using a design code.

Can I put TM on my logo?

You can claim a trademark on anything by using the TM Symbol, but you can't use the registered trademark symbol (R) unless you have registered the trademark with the US Patent and Trademark Office.

Can a design be protected by copyright?

If you create original sketches of your designs, those sketches are protected by copyright law. That means that no one can copy, distribute, publicly display, etc. your sketch without your permission. However, copyright protects original expression, not ideas.

How much does it cost to patent an idea yourself?

For a simple do-it-yourself utility patent for a small business, you might pay as little as $1,000, and up to $15,000 or more for a complex, competitive patent filed by a specialized patent attorney. To keep your patent application costs at a minimum, do as much as possible of the preliminary work yourself.

How long does a trademark last?

A federal trademark lasts 10 years from the date of registration, with 10-year renewal terms. Between the fifth and sixth year after the registration date, the registrant must file an affidavit to state that the mark is still in use.

How do I protect my product idea?

There are three easy ways to protect a product idea: Trade Secret. Non-Disclosure / Confidentiality Agreement. Patents.

Should I trademark or copyright my logo?

How to legally protect your logo design. To protect your logo, you need a trademark or service mark (trademarks are generally used for products, while service marks are usually applied to services). You should not copyright or patent a logo design.

How can I protect my logo legally?

If you want to protect your brand identity you have to register a trademark for your company name, logos, and slogans. By using the trademark symbol, you notify other people that products they use are your property. In order to prevent unauthorized use of your mark by third parties, you have to choose a strong one.

Is TM trademark free?

Anyone can use the TM symbol without legal repercussions. But the R symbol is only for marks that have trademark protection from the USPTO. It may also be a mistake to not use either the TM or R symbol on your mark. Without the TM symbol, your competitors won't know for sure that you're planning to register the mark.

How much is it to trademark a logo?

What Does it Cost to Trademark a Logo? The cost to trademark a logo with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is $275–$660 as of June 2020, plus legal fees. You can register a trademark with your state for $50-$150, but federal registration offers a great deal more legal protection.

How do I protect my design from being copied?

  1. Protect Your Brand With a Trademark.
  2. Protect Your Brand With a Registered Mark.
  3. Protect Your Brand With a Patent.

Is it worth registering a design?

Registered design protects the look of the whole or part of the product. This can include lines, colours shapes, textures, materials ornamentation, packaging and graphics. It can protect complex industrially produced products through to one off handicraft products.

What Cannot be registered as a design?

The following items cannot be registered as a design: Books, jackets, calendars, certificates, forms-and other documents, dressmaking patterns, greeting cards, leaflets, maps and plan cards, postcards, stamps, medals. Labels, tokens, cards, cartoons. any principle or mode of construction of an article.

What is poor man's patent?

A poor man's patent is essentially writing out a description of your invention and then mailing that written description to yourself. This postmarked envelope supposedly acts to create the date of your invention as the date this written description was postmarked.

Does a poor man's patent hold up in court?

Even under the old system, i.e., the “first to invent” system, a “poor man's patent” standing alone, i.e, without a patent application, was worthless. You cannot access the court system and ask a judge or a jury to enforce a right that the U.S. Government does not even recognize as a right.

How can I patent a design for free?

There are two ways you can actually patent an invention for free, sort of. If you cannot afford an agent or attorney, look to the Patent Pro Bono Program or the Law School Clinic Certification Program, both provided by the USPTO. The Patent Pro Bono Program pairs registered patent agents or attorneys with inventors.

What are the three types of trademarks?

What you'll learn: Arbitrary and Fanciful Trademarks. Suggestive Trademarks. Descriptive Trademarks.

Can you lose a trademark if you don't protect it?

If you don't enforce your trademark, you risk losing reputation, business, sales, customers, and more to the infringer. There's also a concept in trademark law called abandonment. Generally, if you don't use your mark for three years or more, it's considered abandoned.

How long does a trademark take to get approved?

Usually, the process takes 12 to 18 months. Registering your trademark is a complex procedure that involves your application moving through various stages. Learning about each stage in the process will help you understand why getting a trademark takes as long as it does.

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Can i trademark my design

Comment by Matilda Hoerter

so you come up with an awesome phrase that would be perfect for a mug a t-shirt a card or hat can you run down to the trademark office and file a trademark for that phrase that's exactly what we're going to cover in this week's episode of a skit hi I'm Tiffany Staley founder of the artist JD a place designed to add ease to the legalese of running your creative business this week's question comes to us from Jennifer in Florida she asks can a trademark a t-shirt design so we know that short phrases don't get copyright protection but we hear about all the time in the news people running to the trademark office and filing trademarks for phrases that appear on hats or t-shirts so can you do that and is it a smart thing to do before we get into that let's remember why trademarks exist trademarks exist for consumer confusion so that consumers know when they see a specific phrase that they know who's providing them that product or service so when I go to Old Navy I know that Old Navy is selling me the clothes because there's the big signage in front of the store the receipt says Old Navy the staff is walking around with Old Navy tags on their shirts that shown in tags on the clothing say Old Navy and the Hang tags say Old Navy yes there are Old Navy shirts and other pieces of clothing that say Old Navy on the front of them but just because it says Old Navy doesn't necessarily mean that I know that Old Navy is selling me that clothing now Old Navy's probably a bad example when it comes to something on the front of the shirt because it is a very well-known brand but if Old Navy and anthropology were both selling shirts that say Love Wins on the front I wouldn't assume that Love Wins is the company that's selling me the clothing I would look inside the shirt and look at the sewn in tag to figure out who the maker of the shirt was so the same exact thing applies here so if you come up with a great phrase yes you can run down to the trademark office and file a trademark application for it there's nothing that's gonna prevent you from doing that the USPTO will gladly take your money the problem is gonna arise as you go through the process of getting the trademark filing the application doesn't mean you have the trademark you still have to go through the review process and there are two parts of the review process that you might get hung up the first part is if you've already got the t-shirts and as part of your application you submit a photograph of the front of the t-shirt to say USPTO this is how I'm using the t-shirt to sell my product or service the USPTO is going to issue what's called an office action to say we don't necessarily agree with that and because that's because of the exact reason we talked about before if I see a Love Wins shirt I'm not gonna think that Love Wins is selling me the shirt I'm gonna look inside and look at that tag that Sonnen tag or that printed on tag to figure out who is making this shirt so the USPTO is going to issue an office action and say we need to see something else that proves either you know show us the sewn in tag show us the Hang tag show us your ecommerce store with this phrase as the company that's selling t-shirts show us some other proof that was created by the date that you've submitted the application in order to get your trademark so that's the first place you may run into problems the second place you may run into problems is if you file your application and you say I'm not using it yet if you file it on what's called an intent to use basis you'll make it further through the application process and once you at the end of the application process in order for your trademark to become official again you're gonna have to submit that proof and once again when you submit a photograph of the front of your t-shirt the USPTO is going to say nope sorry that doesn't cut us show us some other proof that was available on the date you said it's now available that proves that you're using it in a way that consumers are going to identify you as the seller of the t-shirt so the short version putting something on the front of a t-shirt yep you'll be able to file that application but you're not going to be able to get the registered trademark just by putting a phrase on the front of t-shirts mugs cards hats and the like instead you'll have to take it another level and make sure that your ecommerce store that the Hang tags that the Sonnen tags that the printed on tags all identify that same phrase as the person who's providing those shirts to consumers ask if we'll be back after the Thanksgiving holidays and we'll be talking about how you're going to use all of that feedback and testimonials that's amazing that you're getting from your clients and customers over this holiday season next year to sell more products got a question you want me to cover in an upcoming episode leave it in the comments below before you go make sure you check out that video above if you've got a phrase that you decide you want to use in this way it's going to talk about where you're gonna have to search to make sure another business isn't already using that phrase and if you haven't hit that subscribe button subscribe so that you can get notified each time a new episode drops thanks so much for tuning in and I'll see you soon

Thanks for your comment Matilda Hoerter, have a nice day.
- Sherry Falchi, Staff Member

Comment by Ned

hey everybody welcome to another episode of what ted says i hope you're enjoying the whole series here on basically how to start run and grow a business so a lot of people will ask me ted do i need to have a trademark in my business and so what is a trademark even it's really a legal designation to protect a piece of intellectual property in your business can you imagine stealing a bite out of an apple and using it for your business like the actual mac what about the golden arches do they get you thinking of late night french fries and of course one of the most famous slogans of all time just do it so is it time for you to just do it and trademark your logo or your slogan or another piece of intellectual property inside of this episode of what ted says and wait till you hear tip four i'll share with you exactly what to do if you're thinking about getting a trademark in your business right now so the first question is can i trademark my name so uh let's say that your name is sarah keller and you create custom resin earrings so you can absolutely trademark a business name like sarah keller jewelry or earrings by sarah but maybe not the actual name sarah keller of course there is a kendra scott that probably is trademarked but that's going to be few and far between then the question is can you trademark your logo well yes if it's strong enough of course you can trademark your logo in the world of intellectual property a strong logo or name is one that is unmistakably unique to its creator again think about the golden arches so how long does it take to actually trademark a logo well typically what i would tell you haven't done this many times myself that it could take somewhere between six to nine months to get fully trademarked and people also always want to know they always say ted well how much does it cost to actually trademark is it a fortune i think it's a lot less than you think it would be the cost of trademarking a logo it can vary by country but in the united states it's really pretty simple you'll go to the united states pto and it can typically cost between 275 dollars and maybe as much as 660 plus legal fees if in fact you hire a lawyer trademarking a logo with the state trademark office which can offer similar protection i would tell you to registering at the federal level but only within that specific state think about states like new york and california can also cost between 50 to 150 now what does the the process physically of trademarking involved so before you apply for trademark registration you should conduct a search of your county city states databases to determine if another company is already using a logo that's too close to the one that you want to use so one of the big questions after you do that is like should i use a lawyer i'm gonna tell you that on every single one of these i've used a lawyer the only one i've got on my side is the blood-sucking lawyer thank you even though people will tell you on youtube videos that it's not that hard you can just do the searches a lot of times the searches have to be dependent on the kind of business that you're in like i had breathe easier for oxygen financial and i trademarked that breathe easier but like i've said in other videos if that breathe easier was for breathe right strips i may be able to trademark breathe easier because i'm not in the medical industry i'm in the financial services industry so a lot of times people think they have universal protection of a trademark and that trademark will cover everything and it just simply isn't the case so look at the end of the day do you have to get a lawyer when you go through a trademark no do i recommend one yes and in my experience it makes sense now i'm going to tell you most of you will not need to have the trademark unless you're super serious about using that trademark on your website in your letterhead on your business cards then you probably want to spend the thousand or two thousand bucks it's going to take to get it done if your trademark gets rejected it may be time to revisit the logo and add something to it or your slogan come up with something more unique or your brand name may need to be something different because this is going to be a long-term business you've got to get more detailed in order to protect what you're going to build for the long term a lot of new business owners just simply don't think about it then they're down the road then it's like why didn't i protect this ultimately the longer that something is out there even if it's not trademarked and it's in front of the public you're going to have a lot harder time either removing them or they're going to have a lot harder time removing you so some of the beauty of this is like first market really gets that positioning going when it comes to trademarking now that your logo and slogan are trademarked the next question is well how do i get the whole business started with a bank account and a credit card do i need both how do i basically set it up what kind of tax id should it be in i'm going to tell you more about that in the next videos in the series here about how to start grow create and run a successful business you

Thanks Ned your participation is very much appreciated
- Sherry Falchi

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