Three legal considerations for your new course logo

Created a new course and excited about launching it to the world? Here are three legal considerations you need to take into account when designing your course logo.

An important stage in creating and marketing your new course is creating the perfect logo. Your new course logo needs to appeal to your potential students and accurately reflect what you offer, as well as your business brand. But it also, very importantly, needs to be legal – and legally protected!

When creating any business, and in particular a course, it can be all too easy focusing on other important areas, such as getting a great quality product, identifying an audience for your product, working out your pricing, and planning and implementing sales and marketing.

In all the excitement and hard work, you can overlook some important areas – especially if you’re rushing to meet a deadline and get your new course out into the world with paying students.

And one vital area of creating your new course is ensuring that you haven’t missed any important legal loopholes. Loopholes that could cause you trouble and expense later on. And one of the biggest legal loopholes is rushing a logo that isn’t legal – or isn’t legally protected.

To help you avoid any potential trouble, we’ve put together some advice around trademarking your course logo. So if you’re a new course creator, here are three legal considerations for your new course logo.

1) Be wary of design infringements

When creating your course, you may rely on a team of people with different specialities to help you. And one important member of that team could be a designer.

You may hire a designer to create some of your course training materials, to ensure that they look professional. But you’ll most probably require their help for your marketing – and in particular your sales page and course logo.

Designing a memorable logo is a big responsibility – for your designer and you. And not least because you need to ensure that here’s no infringement or breach of copyright.

Yes, while most course creators may worry more about getting a logo that is reflective of their offering, well-designed and on-brand, you can’t overlook the small matter of legality.

Hiring an inexperienced or unknown designer could put you at risk of breach of copyright if your designer has deliberately or unknowingly creating a logo that is too similar to an existing business’ logo. Having an impressive logo is important for your brand identity, but you also need to ensure that it is original and not copied from someone else.

To avoid problems, you and your designer both need to be aware of what to avoid. For example, if you want to use a font that might be specific to another brand or company, you will need to take a look at whether or not that font is copyrighted.

You also need to be careful about the colors, symbols, specific images, or pictures your designer uses. You will also need to look at the size and dimensions to ensure that they don’t ‘look familiar’ or that the overall graphics remind you of something you’ve seen before. 

There’s nothing worse than having a course logo design that’s eerily close to an existing one. If your company fails to enact due diligence regarding these guidelines, you could find yourself facing a fine, or worse, getting sued. 

If you cannot provide any evidence that your original material is original, then you should consider getting your course logo made by another provider.

2) Clear work-for-hire design agreements

Aside from copyright infringements, there are other aspects to consider when deciding on a new course logo or even a logo for your business. As well as looking closely at the design, another important legal aspect you need be aware of is the designer’s business ethics.

Some companies prefer to use in-house trainers and designers, while others outsource these jobs to consultants on retainer. Regardless of the work arrangement, you need to make sure everything is documented thoroughly when subcontracting a logo designer to help with your new course logo.

Once designs are approved, you need to ensure that you have legally settled the logo ownership. As this is a work-for-hire setup, the copyright passes from the professional designer to you and your business.

No one wants to be blindsided by their freelance designer requesting royalties for their work after ownership has been passed because something in the legal process has been overlooked.

So make sure that you document everything as thoroughly as possible. And if you’re concerned about a legal loophole being exploited, it might be worth seeking legal counsel before proceeding.

3) Trademark ownership

Registering a logo for a trademark is the next legal option to consider when you have a new course logo designed.

Getting a trademark protects any brand by making it difficult for another company to use your trademarked property. Once the trademark is registered, you will be protected against anyone else using your mark without permission. You can also prevent other companies from using your course logo on their products and services.

The trade mark registration also prevents people from making derivative designs based on your registered course logo. This means that they can’t even remotely design something that somehow looks like your logo. Nor can they use part of your logo’s design and incorporate it in theirs.  

The most crucial aspect of registering a trademark is to get a good registration from the US Patent and Trademark Office. If your trademark is registered by the right agency, then there is a good chance that you could go after the people who use your design illegally and start a trademark opposition process to protect your rights.

Have you legally designed and protected your course logo?

As you can see, when it comes to designing a logo for your course, there are a number of legal considerations. And while it’s easy to ignore them in the short term, and rush your design though as quickly and cheaply as possible, this could – in a worse case scenario – be an expensive mistake.

So make sure you are legally protected when designing your new logo. And then go and launch your course, fully confident that your logo is legal – and properly protected.