A logo, like any other artistic image, is protected by copyright law as soon as it's drawn, but registering the copyright for your logo with the U.S. Copyright Office allows you to enforce the copyright in court, and it is simple enough to do by yourself. Registering the copyright on your logo won't protect your business from others who manufacture knock-off goods sold with a similar logo. Registering your logo as a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in addition to registering a copyright of the design will further protect your business.
Access the U.S. Copyright Office webpage and check the current fee schedule for electronic filing. The fees change regularly. Electronic filing is much less expensive than mailing in the hard copy forms, even when you are filing hard copy renderings of artwork.
Read More: How to Copyright a Logo on Shirts
Click on the electronic copyright registration icon on the main screen of the website and complete the online form required for a basic filing. Indicate that you will be submitting your materials for deposit by hard copy and make the appropriate online payment based on the fee schedule. Submit the electronic filing form.
Mail two copies of your logo artwork to the U.S. Copyright Office at the address shown on the form you completed on their website. You will receive an email or a hard copy certificate of registration; the copyright registration is valid as soon as it is received by the U.S. Copyright Office.
You can not copyright your logo if you did not design it yourself, unless the artist has expressly transferred her copyright to you. Copyright is owned by the creator of an artistic image unless the artist explicitly conveys the legal copyright in writing.
Add a copyright statement within or just outside your logo to further put the world on notice that your logo image is protected by copyright: create a letter C inside a circle, followed by the year the image was created and the full legal name of the person who holds the copyright.
- U.S. Patent and Trademark Office: General Information Concerning Patents
- U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Stop Fakes Program: Trademark FAQ
- U.S. Copyright Office: Deposit Requirements for Registration of Claims to Copyright in Visual Arts Material
- U.S. Copyright Office: Copyright Registration of Works of the Visual Arts
A freelance writer since 1978 and attorney since 1981, Cindy Hill has won awards for articles on organic agriculture and wild foods, and has published widely in the areas of law, public policy, local foods and gardening. She holds a B.A. in political science from State University of New York and a Master of Environmental Law and a J.D. from Vermont Law School.