Ideally, trademarking your business name and/or logo is something you should be thinking about as soon as you form your company and have finalized your name and logo. While not all businesses need to expend the funds to trademark up front, at a minimum you will want to search the United States Patent and Trademark application database prior to finalizing your name and logo to ensure that if you do experience success, you can register your name and logo at that point. Trademarks are critically important for retail stores, product manufacturers, and restaurants and these businesses should plan to trademark on the front end and build that into their start up budgets.
Before you can begin the process of applying for a graphic mark for your logo, make sure you have secured all the intellectual property rights to your logo. A written Intellectual Property Assignment by the artist or creator should be obtained when you purchase your logo, otherwise, by law, the artist still maintains rights in the logo.
While the Louisiana Secretary of State also provides trademark registration services, these services are unnecessary for a number of reasons. Often times, we have clients that mistakenly believe that such state registration provided them with state protection of their name or mark. This is not correct, as the state registration provides no more substantive rights than use of the mark in Louisiana provides. In fact, without using your name or logo (mark) in commerce, you will be unable to secure any legal rights to the name or logo because use is a requirement to any protection of your mark under law.