How do I Trademark a Design?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 14 March 2020
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The first thing you should typically do to trademark a design is be sure that the design qualifies for trademark protection. Once you do this, you should do a trademark search to ensure that no other design or company logo exists that is identical or extremely similar to yours. You can then begin using your design on business products such as packaging for merchandise your company produces or advertisements for services offered by your company. To trademark a design more fully, you may then file your trademark with a government agency to obtain greater legal protection for your design.

Before you try to trademark a design, you should first be sure that your design qualifies as something that can be protected under trademark laws. Trademarks are a form of intellectual property that govern names and logos of businesses, as well as the products and services those businesses may manufacture or offer. If you have a design for a new invention, such as a machine that would print newspapers more efficiently, then you would want to patent your design, not trademark it. You would typically want to trademark a design that acts as a logo for your business or for products or services your business offers to customers.


Once you are sure that your design qualifies for trademark protection, then you should begin using your designed logo or business name. You can use an indicator such as “TM” or “SM” to indicate to others that your design is protected by trademark or service mark. This is all you have to do to effectively trademark a design you wish to use for your business. You may want to file or register your trademark for greater legal protection, however, and you can contact the appropriate government office for your country to officially trademark a design.

To trademark a design by registering it with the country in which you do business, you can typically file paperwork and pay a filing fee with the appropriate office. In the US, for example, the US Patent and Trademark Office handles trademarks, while the Intellectual Property Office in the UK deals with patents, trademarks, and copyrights. You will typically need to fill out necessary paperwork and provide a drawing of your design, including specific colors used as well as a specimen of your design in use on product packaging or advertisements. Once you trademark a design, anyone else who uses it without your permission may be liable to civil lawsuit due to trademark infringement.


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