You’re launching or rebranding your biz and plan to make a killer impression. So, you dial up your graphic designer for a new logo. You’ve been day dreaming of a logo that makes an introduction all on it’s own.

Hi-falutin’. Fancy. Magnetic. Has the voodoo to woo. You talk colors. Typography. Shapes.

You go through revision after revision until you’ve nailed it.


You can’t wait to leak this beauty to your bff’s and slap this baby up on your website. You puff out your chest as you hit “publish” and feverishly refresh your screen so you can see it large and in charge. In all it’s glory.

Palms sweaty from excitement, you rush to open another tab. You demolish a nail as you punch the keyboard, but damn it. It’s okay, this time.

You rush to the nearest social media network:

Facebook? check.

Instagram? check.

Twitter? check.

“Hey world! I’m so excited to share my brand new logo! I hope you love it. By the way, I’m open for business.”

Then, you decide it’s time to reward yourself. Your favorite entrepreneur website just posted an article about how entrepreneurs don’t celebrate their achievements often enough and you’ll be damned if that is you.

This deserves some fanfare.

You mix up a cocktail or pour a glass of vino in honor of your new, hot shit. You go one step further and decide to really live on the edge. So, you take the night off.

That’s right. No work at all.

You flip through your favorite magazines. Catch up on some blog reading. Indulge in your favorite gelato, guilt-free. Cuz’ damn it. You deserve it. The next morning you wake. Fired up. Ready to take on the next big project in your business.

But before you move on to the next order of business, I want to tell you one thing.

Lean in.

Your graphic designer created an “original” logo for you but that does not mean that you are guaranteed approval for a federal trademark. Why? Because your trademark cannot be the same or similar as someone else’s.

And guess what?

Your graphic designer is not responsible for doing a trademark search to make sure that there aren’t other “confusingly similar” trademarks out there. That is where an attorney comes in. That’s also why it’s prime time to hire a trademark attorney at this point of the process.

A trademark attorney will do a design trademark search (or work with a research firm to do one) and evaluate the results, including, letting you know if there are conflicts and what needs to be tweaked on the design (from a legal perspective).

We make sure that by the time you slap that baby up, you aren’t infringing on someone else’s trademark and can legit own it.

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This is so, so important, especially if your logo has graphic elements in it.

The trademark office actually has an entire catalog of design codes and each element of your logo has a corresponding code. A trademark attorney will search the appropriate codes to see if there are possible conflicts with existing trademarks. Don’t believe me? Check out the USPTO Design Search Code Manual here.

See, this is one reason why larger creative agencies typically have “legal” involved at various stages of a project, including naming products or services, and rolling out new brand assets.

We kill all. the. fun.

But, we make sure that the new brand being rolled out passes our clearance review so that it can do what it’s intended.

Add to your bottom line.

Here’s the deal. Straight no chaser.

This is not one of the posts where I’ll end with “and here’s what you can do in the meantime…” because I just can’t. I’d be softening the blow in hopes that we could remain virtual peeps. And, that you won’t back away because I’m starting to actually sound like a lawyer.


The truth is you need to have an attorney do a design trademark search. I recommend it while you are still in the review stage with your designer. Worst case, put it on your to-do list and prioritize for this quarter.

Imagine how it feels to know that you’ve taken care of business. That your logo can actually be owned as a trademark, and not just a cute piece of art.  And, that you will own an asset that not only looks good but will increase the cash value of your business down the road.

I just gave you serious intel that you’re competitors don’t have. Isn’t that what you want?

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