How do I copyright a company name or logo?
The Copyright Office cannot register claims to exclusive rights in brief combinations of words including names of products, services, businesses, organizations, or groups. For additional information please see the Copyright Office Information Circular 34 available on the Copyright Office website. The Copyright Office created their own FAQ for copyrighting a name, title, slogan, or logo:
Copyright does not protect names, titles, slogans, or short phrases. In some cases, these things may be protected as trademarks. Contact the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (1-800-786-9199), for further information. However, copyright protection may be available for logo artwork that contains sufficient authorship. In some circumstances, an artistic logo may also be protected as a trademark.
Please contact the Copyright Office with further clarification.
However, the United States Patent and Trademark Office says a trademark is a "word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of another" so your company's name can be protected. You will need to register it as a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The name that you select for your company must be distinctive to receive trademark protection. Common words or phrases that are not inherently distinctive are not offered trademark protection. Examples of names that would not be eligible for protection are:
- Joe's Diner
- Bob's Auto
- Quick Auto Repair
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