Guide to Trademark & Copyright Protection for a Logo

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Creative Vision Legal

San Francisco, CA

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Intellectual Property

Trademark protection is a well-known way to secure rights in a logo, but a logo copyright is often overlooked as a method of intellectual property protection. Under certain circumstances, both a logo copyright and a logo trademark can be obtained, giving the owner more enforcement options for their intellectual property.

Copyright protects "original works of authorship," so your logo artwork would have to demonstrate a minimal level of creativity in order to garner copyright protection. Logos are considered works of "visual art" (specifically, pictorial or graphic works), so Form VA ("visual arts") would be used for the copyright registration.

One key limitation on obtaining a logo copyright is the fact that copyright protection does not extend to any names, titles, slogans, or short phrases, or to mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or coloring. However, trademark protection does extend to names, slogans, and short phrases (and in limited instances, colors), so obtaining a trademark registration for a name or slogan contained within your logo is crucial for maximum protection. Ultimately, the best solution is to obtain (1) a copyright registration for your logo artwork, (2) a trademark registration for your logo design, AND (3) a separate band name or business name trademark registration or one for a slogan contained in the logo.

Creative Vision Legal offers both trademark and copyright registration packages with legal advice included, and will assess whether the one-two punch of a logo copyright and logo trademark is right for your business or band.

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