Can you Trademark a Logo you didn’t Create?


As a designer, you know how important it is to protect your work. You may be wondering if you can trademark a logo that someone else designed and sold to you. The answer is yes. However, there are some limitations to this process. In this article, we’ll explore what kinds of logos qualify for a trademark and how much work goes into securing one for yourself or on behalf of your client.

You can Trademark any Logo or Design you Create

You can trademark any logo or design you create. However, when it comes to the legal rights of your designs, it’s important to note that you cannot trademark a logo or design that is similar in appearance to another’s.

For example: If you created your business card with a bright pink background and black text, it wouldn’t be possible for someone else to use this exact combination on their business cards unless they had created their own original artwork first (i.e., designing a different color scheme). This is because the combination of colors has already been claimed by your company as its own unique mark.

However, you cannot trademark a logo that is similar to another’s

You cannot trademark a logo that is similar to another’s. If a consumer sees two logos together and they are too similar, it could be confusing as to which brand they belong.

In order to protect yourself from confusion and copying by others, you need to make sure that your logo has enough differences that it is not confused with another’s. One change might be in color or font style or size. It might be something as simple as moving an element on the page or adding more detail so it looks different than its competitor’s mark.

Purchasing a Logo or Trademark

You can purchase a logo and trademark it, but most designers will not sell the rights to their work. If you’re lucky enough to find a designer who’s willing to transfer ownership of the copyright and trademark, they’ll want a hefty price tag for doing so.

If you want to trademark your logo without going through all of that hassle, another option is hiring a designer to create one for you first. Then you can register with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) as an individual or entity in charge of maintaining brand recognition through use of that particular design. This way, even if someone else uses your exact same logo design later on down the line (or if someone steals yours), your company will be protected from any legal action against them because only one person or entity owns those rights.

The Logo/Trademark must be Unique

You may be able to secure a trademark for a new version of your logo if you change enough of it.

In order to be eligible for a trademark, your design must be unique. This means that it can’t be confusingly similar to any other designs or logos already in existence. If you have an original logo that’s been in use by your business for years and has become well-known, then you might be able to protect it as a trademark.

To get a registered trademark, the USPTO will want to see evidence of the following:

  • The design has been in use by one company for at least five years (before filing).
  • The design is used on goods or services related to your industry.
  • The design is not confusingly similar to another registered trademark design already out there (even if yours came first).


A good way of thinking about this is by considering how hard you would fight for a trademark on an original design that you created yourself. If it took you years to create, and there was no other logo like it in the world, then you might be able to get it trademarked. However, if someone else already had a similar idea before yours was ever used commercially, then your chances of getting that same identical logo trademarked are slim. This is because it would be too similar to something already existing in the marketplace.

In order for your logo’s design to be considered original enough for trademark protection:

  • You need to show that there was significant investment involved in creating the design (this means time and money).
  • The reputation of your business or brand needs to be tied up with this particular logo—people need to associate another business with yours based on its appearance alone (think Coca-Cola vs Pepsi).
  • The design cannot be generic enough so as not to stand out from others within its industry category, otherwise there’s nothing special about it.


As you can see, the answer to this question is not straightforward. The more work you put into creating the original design, the more likely it will be that you can get it trademarked in your name. However, if another designer has already created a similar logo for another company, then it may be difficult to do so without infringing on their intellectual property rights.

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