What's the process for trademarking your logo like? How do you go about it? What happens?

I've been asked these question often. I don't know all of the legal stuff that goes on behind-the-scenes when you're trademarking a logo, but I did trademark my logo a couple of summers ago, so I can tell you a bit about the process.

First, I designed my logo. Then, I sat with it for a bit to make sure that I liked the logo well enough to stick with it for a good bit of time. I also wanted to make sure that the logo worked for my clients as well, and that they reacted well to it.

Once I figured out that my logo met these qualifications, I looked into the options for a company to help me through the trademarking process. I wanted something affordable, yet, knowledgeable and helpful. I went with www.legalzoom.com.

They had an easy form to fill out, plus I uploaded my logo art to their site in black and white. 

A couple of weeks later I got a big book of research back from them on other logos that might compete with my registration. Part of the fee was refundable until I OK'd the process from a perspective of the competition – and whether I thought that I'd be able to get my logo registered once it made it to the government level. 

Then I looked through the book, decided that nothing in there was particularly close to my logo, and sent my OK to Legal Zoom. They did all the paperwork and sent it all to the government people.

After another (long) while, I heard back – the government sent me a scary letter that looked very official. I opened it, and inside there was a bunch of legal mumbo-jumbo about how I couldn't trademark the use of the word "design" by itself, because that term was too general. That was a relief – I was sure the thin envelope was going to be telling me that my trademark wouldn't be granted at all. So, I had to sign away any possible claim I might be trying to establish to that. Well, I was pretty OK with that… so I signed the form and mailed it back.

Then another long, silent time went by. Then, one day, a big lovely envelope arrived in the mail. Inside, there was a folder with all sorts of certificates and official-looking papers, that basically said that I own the trademark to my logo. Yay!

After celebrating a bit, I changed the TM sign on my logo on my marketing materials and website to the circle-R symbol. 

That's how it went for me. Your mileage may vary – but the process was pretty painless when I did it!