Updated: Jul 2, 2021
Oftentimes, people filing trademarks with the U.S.P.T.O are on a budget. The trademark application price with the U.S.P.T.O can get expensive, especially if you’re filing in multiple classes or for multiple products. I sometimes get asked if it makes sense to simply file the logo and name marks together; such a mark is referred to as a composite trademark, which combines brand name and logo. My answer: I would avoid this.
When you think of a trademark, you should think of each aspect of your product or service separately. You do not want to make the mistake of treating the various marks of your product or service as a single mark. For instance, if Nike filed a trademark application for the Nike logo and the Nike name together, Nike would have protection for the name, Nike, and the logo, swoosh mark, together but not separately. The scope of Nike’s protection would be limited to the specific arrangement and combination of the logo and name. -As a result, Nike would be vulnerable in the event a competitor separately uses the Nike name or logo. Obviously, Nike is a large international company and would have strong protections in common law, but a small business that’s just getting started may not be so lucky. In this instance, such a company would not have the same protections that it would if it filed the marks separately.
Filing your name and logo separately also gives you more flexibility. If you want to change your logo or name with a composite trademark, you’ll have to go through the application process all over again and advisably file it separately the next time. If you file your name and logo application separately, you only must go through the process for the new logo or name.
When filing a trademark, it is advisable to meet with an attorney to discuss your marks before filing an application. An attorney can advise you on the best next steps and can avoid potential issues that may occur when filing a trademark application.