In the world of business, trademarks are everything. Your logo represents your business brand and is often the first thing people associate with your company. A logo can literally make or break your brand so it’s important to ensure it is fully protected.

Recently the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market has altered the practice of black and white logos. It is important you understand the new changes and what it could mean for your business. Logos can be expensive if outsourced to a designer. Check out Everline's business loans page for guidance on a loans which could help you to afford a top tier logo.

Understanding the changes

As featured on Mondaq, the changes in black and white logo trademarks have been put into place within the EU. The changes came into effect in mid-2014 and they pose two important considerations for companies.

Firstly, they affect the rights of a client’s trademark and their rights against third parties. Secondly, a client may need to prove their use of a black and white logo. It basically addresses whether a black and white trademark is the same as a colour variation.

It’s also worth noting that the changes aren’t just applicable for pure black and white logos; they also refer to colour logos that use the same black and white markings.   

What this means for companies is their black and white logos may no longer carry as much protection as they once did. If your logo is very similar to another company’s logo, you could end up finding yourself in deep water with the law.

If you are struggling to understand how these new changes affect your logo, it could be worth getting professional advice. Various companies can offer brand protection,and trademark checks to businesses.

How to protect your logo

While it can be confusing figuring out the new logo trademark regulations and how it affects your business, there are some tips that will help you to protect your brand.

Trademarking your logo in black and white may no longer be good enough according to the EU’s new rule. Therefore it’s advisable you look into trademarking under a colour logo instead. This applies to both existing businesses and new businesses just starting out.

When you protect your logo it is basically copyright as an artistic work. Even if your logo is simple lettering that’s been organised in a specific way, that too can be copyright as an artistic image. However, the logo has to be completely original and not closely matched to any other out there. If it is similar to another, the copyright won’t offer any protection.

When your logo is copyright protected, no other company will be able to replicate it. The Intellectual Property Office also has excellent advice on how to copyright your logo. They will ensure you know which type of protection you need.

It’s worth noting that the wording within a logo will need to be separately copyright protected. Unless the wording is built into an image and is classed as an artistic work, it won’t be covered by black and white or colour copyright.

Benefits of filing a colour logo copyright

There are many benefits that come with filing a colour logo copyright over a black and white one. Not only will it guarantee you protection, but it’s also more cost effective.

It’s cheaper to register a colour logo rather than renew a black and white one. You can’t be challenged over non-use for the first five years once you’ve registered a new colour logo copyright. If you register a new colour logo it will also give you the chance to rebrand. You can expand the scope of the services you’re offering and potentially build a bigger brand identity because of it.

The issue of copyright can be confusing; particularly if you’re new to the world of logos and copyright. There are companies out there that can help, so it’s worth using their services to ensure you’re adequately protected.

Filing the wrong type of copyright could leave you wide open to having your logo used by another company. In order to stand out in business, you need a strong identity. If another company has the same style logo it will affect your brand and in the long term, your profits. 

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