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How To Copyright & Trademark A Logo: A Guide To Your Rights

how to copyright a logo

When you are trying to establish your design brand, your logo is key. You therefore don’t want anyone else to pinch your amazing logo design. You want to protect it as your own intellectual property. Knowing how to copyright and how to trademark a logo it is an integral step when it comes to setting up your design brand, and we’re here to help you do it.

Why is it so important to protect your logo?

Your logo can be the first thing that potential new customers see. Even before your art and designs. A memorable logo is one that will stand out and stick in their minds. It is an invaluable business asset and knowing how to copyright a logo so it remains your property is one of the best ways of standing out in the design marketplace.

According to the Australian Copyright Council: “Logos may be protected by copyright as artistic works. Unless there is an agreement to the contrary, copyright in a logo is generally owned by its creator.”

This means that once you created your own logo, it is protected as an artistic work. If anyone else uses your logo unauthorised, it would be an infringement. No one else can use it without your permission.

But let’s start from the beginning…

design your own logo

How to create a logo

Before you think about how to copyright a logo, you first need to create a logo. This must be synonymous with your brand as it is the first step in creating brand identity. With a well-designed and well thought out logo, potential new clients and customers can instantly know who you are and what you are offering them.

Think about the looks

  • Do you want it to include your name?
  • Your initials?
  • The brand name?
  • A slogan?
  • Or maybe just a design based on your style?

There are 3 main types of logos:

  1. Font based logos – these consist of the name of your design brand, or your name, which are given a stylish and recognisable twist
  2. Literal logos – these logos literally illustrate what the brand does and what it is all about
  3. Graphic symbols – normally not anything to do with the brand, but more a symbol that when recognised is instantly linked to the brand

If you are looking for tips and ideas of how to get started, then there are plenty of amazing and free design platforms online that you can use to create your logo.

Do’s and don’ts of logo design:

  • DO make it functional and easy to reproduce on different products. This is important if you want to use it on several different items (labels, business cards, hangers etc.)
  • DO look to competitors for inspiration, but be sure you keep your design unique
  • DON’T lose sight of your artistic mission and your message when it comes to the design
  • DO consider the name of your brand and how this could affect the overall look of the logo
  • DON’T create a logo based on what is trendy right now. You want it to remain relevant and current for years to come
  • DO use original art or designs in your logo as it will stand out more

Your logo is an instant visual representation of who you are and what your art brand is all about. It gives potential customers an immediate first impression of your brand, so it is important that you get it right. Focus on the message and mission statement of your brand. Try and convey this in your logo.

Once your logo is perfected it is time to understand how to copyright a logo.

how to copyright logo

How to copyright a logo

You have your logo. It looks perfect and does exactly what you want it to do. Now that you have spent all this time creating it, it is time to consider how to copyright a logo so it remains yours and yours alone.

What is copyright?

This is the legal term that defines your ownership of something. It is used to protect the owner’s intellectual property against infringement; a piece of work, a design, an invention etc. It protects your work from being used by someone else without your direct permission. You have already worked hard designing the perfect logo that embodies your brand, that it would be extremely disheartening if someone else spotted it, liked the look of it and started using it themselves.

What is the difference between copyright & trademark?

It can be easy to confuse copyright from trademark.

  • Copyright – the owner has exclusive rights to protect their work from being reproduced
  • Trademark – distinguishes a symbol, word, name, product or service from its competitor

How to copyright your logo in Australia?

Here is the really good news (and I love to be the bearer of good news): In Australia, copyright is automatic; there is no need to register for copyright protection whatsoever.

The Copyright Act of 1968 defines several categories of material which are eligible for automatic copyright. One of those categories is “artistic works” which includes logos, but also engravings, drawings, paintings, diagrams, photographs, charts, plans, and maps, as well as buildings, craft works and sculptures.

It is important to know is that just an idea of a logo is not protected by copyright.

You’ll get more information about thhe topic with the Australian Copyright Council. This pdf with give you a good introduction to the legal aspects of copyright in Australia.

How to trademark a logo?

Trademarking your logo will also ensure security for your design brand’s individuality. You can trademark your logo, a combination of words, shapes, specific colours, images and even phrases under protection law. Your trademark needs to be distinctive and original.

However, unlike copyright, trademark a logo is not automatic. You will need to register it with IP Australia and pay a fee. You can only trademark names and marks that can distinguish your goods or services from another trader’s mark or name.

There are also unregistered trademarks. However, in a dispute you need to be able to proof that your logo, mark or name has been used in the course of trade for a period of time and therefore recognised in the market.

REMEMBER: It is vitally important that you check and see if your logo is already trademarked or copyrighted. Of course, if you have created a bespoke and unique logo that is about your design or art brand, then it is very unlikely that it already exists. It is always worth double checking. You can do this by searching the trademarks database – which can also be found on the https://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/ website.

Now that you have a fully protected logo, it’s time to put it to good use! Get in touch with us about opening your own online store with Contrado and push your brand (and your logo) to the next level.

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