Copyright vs. Trademark:
Copyright and trademark protect different types of intellectual property. While copyright protects the expression or use of an idea, such as music, graphics, and logos, a trademark protects the idea itself, including distinctive phrases or items that make up the final product.
To protect a brand's identity and products, it's highly advised to copyright and trademark a business logo. In some cases, business owners may be required to trademark a logo if it includes distinctive identifiers that are unique to their business.
How to Copyright a Logo:
Three easy steps on how to copyright a business logo.
Create an original logo design.
Design a unique logo that's inventive and memorable.
An original work of authorship that is unlike anything in the market will improve your chances of copyright approval. Ultimately, you'll want to create a logo that includes enough unique identifiers to avoid confusion with another business.
Research your competitors' logos to ensure that there are no obvious similarities with your design. Consider experimenting with different color palettes, fonts, slogans, and icons to help your logo stand out.
Use our free business logo maker to design an original logo that's marketable and distinctive.
Complete the registration form.
Go to the United State's Copyright Office website.
Navigate to the U.S. Copyright Office's home page and click on "Registration" in the main menu to see the drop-down menu. From the drop-down menu, select "Register Your Work: Registration Portal."
Log in to the eCO Registration System.
On the following page, scroll down to the registration portal and click on "Log in to the Electronic Copyright Office (eCO) Registration System" to proceed. For first-time users, you will be required to create a new account.
Fill in the "Standard Application" form.
Once you've logged into the eCO Registration System, click on "Standard Application" under the "Copyright Registration" heading on the left of your screen. Review the information on the "Registration Process Overview" page to ensure that your logo design qualifies for copyright. If you're eligible for copyright, click on "Start Registration."
Follow the online prompts. You'll be required to enter the date of completion and/or the date of publication, logo title, and information about the creator and claimant of the logo's copyright.
If you are not the creator of the logo, you must provide a "Transfer Statement" that explains how you obtained ownership of the logo.
Review your "Standard Application" form.
Before proceeding further, you'll be provided with an opportunity to review your application. Carefully read through the application to ensure that all the appropriate fields have been completed. You won't be able to proceed to the final step if you've not completed the final "Certification" prompt.
Once you're satisfied with your application form, click on "Add to Cart" to proceed to the payment page.
Complete the payment.
On the payments page, complete the billing information form and pay the fee. After payment is done, you will receive an email to confirm your application and payment.
It costs $45.00 to submit the Standard Application.
Send copies of the logo being registered.
Determine if you'll need to send physical or electronic copies.
Once payment is complete, you'll be redirected to a new page that will ask you to provide copies of your logo. You can either upload electronic copies or physically mail them to the U.S. Copyright Office. In most cases, you'll be asked to upload your file electronically. However, you must determine if you qualify first.
To find out if you're eligible for electronic upload, review the requirements. If you qualify for electronic upload, make sure that you read through the different file formats allowed before adding copies of your logo.
Upload your electronic copies.
To upload your electronic files, click on the "Select file to upload" button. A window will pop up where you can select one or more files from your device. It's recommended that you upload your copies in one digital file to ensure a smooth process.
Once all your files appear on the screen, select "Click here to complete your submission after uploading all files" to proceed. You will receive an email to confirm the receipt of your application.
Create a Shipping Slip:
If you're required to ship physical copies of your logo, you must create a unique shipping slip. To create a slip, scroll to the bottom of the uploads page and click on "Create Shipping Slip."
A shipping slip will automatically be generated and appear on screen where you'll be given the opportunity to save it. The shipping slip must be attached to the physical copies of your work before mailing it to the address provided.
How much does it cost to copyright a logo?
It costs $45.00 to copyright a logo in the United States.
Do you copyright or trademark a logo?
You can copyright and/or trademark a logo. While copyright protects the expression or use of a logo, trademark protects the idea itself.
How do I copyright a logo for free?
It's not free to officially copyright a logo with the U.S. Copyright Offices. However, registering your business's logo is completely optional. According to the U.S. copyright law, a logo is automatically copyrighted for free once the design is complete.
How do I check if a logo is copyrighted?
Navigate to the U.S. Copyright Office home page and click on "Search Copyright Records" under the "Features" headline to conduct a full copyright search.
How long does copyright last?
A copyright's protection lasts for the life of the creator or claimant, as well as an additional 70 years.
How long does it take to copyright a logo?
A logo is copyrighted immediately after it's created. However, if you're registering your logo with the U.S. Copyright Office, it can take up to three months to copyright a logo.
Can I put TM on my logo without registering?
Yes. You can add the TM symbol without trademarking your logo with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Who owns a logo design?
The creator owns the copyrights, while the person who paid for the logo design service owns the logo.