A logo can be a big part of your personal brand and, as such, should be protected. In legal terms, logos fall under the category of intellectual property, but what kind? As a source of goods or services a logo acts as a trademark. However, depending on the logo, it may be protectable under copyright laws as well.
As a music artist, actor, or entertainer, your logo may act as a source identifier, letting the public know that goods or services emanate from you. A trademark protects a word, phrase, symbol or design (or a combination of these), that identifies and distinguishes a good or service from those of others. Rights in trademarks are created through the use of the trademark in conjunction with specific goods or services. It is also possible to register your trademarks with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to obtain broader rights and to put the public on constructive notice as to your rights.
Trademark rights are more narrow in that they can only be enforced against a party using a confusingly similar trademark on goods or services similar to your own. However, it can be easier to enforce rights under trademark law.
If your logo meets certain standards in terms of its level of creativity, it also qualifies for copyright protection. A copyright is a form of legal protection for the authors of “original works of authorship,” including musical, artistic, dramatic, and literary works, among other creative works. Copyright, however, does not extend to color, words, or design, meaning that only particularly artistic or ornate logos rise to the requisite level to obtain copyright protection. If yours does, though, it can be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. Copyrights exist in a work of art as of the time the art is created so registration is not required to own a copyright; however, there are significant benefits to registering your copyright, including the ability to collect statutory damages from infringers.
Copyright laws arguably provide broader protection to qualifying logos as they are not limited to use on particular goods or services. However, proving copyright infringement can be difficult.
Not sure what kind of protection your logo needs? Ask us! Entertainment lawyer, Michael Loggia, works with songwriters, dance choreographers, actors, singers, and artists. We help personal brands protect their creative work through copyright and trademark protection. Contact us Here or call us at 213-207-6673.213-207-6673.