18 Replies Latest reply on Jun 28, 2009 1:41 PM by nomis123

    My client wants to protect her logo so that no other business can use it...

    Talyianna Level 1

      Hi everyone,

      I recently created a new logo for an owner of a tearoom and she has asked me what she needs to do exactly, so that no other business can use her logo. Can you point me in the right direction? (Again, I trust everyone's advice over here more than anywhere else which is why I am asking this question here:)

       

      Thank you very much in advance for your help:)

      Very much appreciated!

      Christine

        • 1. Re: My client wants to protect her logo so that no other business can use it...
          Scott Falkner Level 5

          There's nothing she or anyone can do to stop anyone from making a copy of her logo, editing it, and using it any way they want. What she can do is ensure the artwork is copyrighted and that the logo is registered as a trademark for her company.

           

          I suppose if she is paranoid, she could ensure that all designers using her logo use a rasterized version instead of a vector version. While the artwork can still be copied and edited, it would be harder to re-use and repurpose the logo as raster art. But tat would make a lot of extra work for everybody, make files that are less versatile (because the ubiquitous "Make the logo bigger" would mean re-rasterizing and saving a new version from the master vector file) and brand our client as a crazy obsessive in the minds of everyone she worked with.

           

          Ever wonder how huge trans-national corporations handle this, like Coca Cola, McDonalds, and Apple? It's easy as hell to find, download, edit, and print vector versions of their logos, even from their own websites. Got a Mac? Type Option-Shift K. See? The protection is legal, not physical or digital.

          • 2. Re: My client wants to protect her logo so that no other business can use it...
            Talyianna Level 1

            Scott,

            You are funny;) My client is certainly not of the crazy obsessive type... she is asking the normal questions any new company owner would ask:)  We are of course much more interested in the legal aspect of it. Being a graphic artist, I know how easy it is to download and use/reuse artwork. I have to do this myself all the time as I very often have to find ways of downloading/reusing/recreating logos when customers cannot find the original versions of their logos when asking me to do work for them!

             

            To explain things as simply as possible, we want to make sure that another — say for example — tearoom cannot open up down the road and use the exact same logo as hers, claiming it as their own. Normally my clients take care of these things themselves but this one is asking for help with this and I told her I would look into it.

             

            So, what she mainly has to do is trademark it then? 

             

            I take it, that after reading your post, a lot of people you deal with are of the paranoid obsessive type?

             

            Thank you for your help:)

             

            Christine

            • 3. Re: My client wants to protect her logo so that no other business can use it...
              D. Fraser-1eqWmH Level 2

              In order to legally protect the logo you would have to file, as Scott suggested, copyrights and trademarks with the government. Assuming the US, www.copyright.gov and www.uspto.gov are the places to start regarding information about this. The other way is to hire a lawyer that specializes in this. All of my company's copyrights/trademarks are filed through our lawyers. This can protect her IP in the court system if she is granted copyrights and trademarks.

               

              As Scott also said, there is really no way to stop someone else from using or recreating her company's IP. The only thing that she can do is protect herself/company legally, and fight, legally, in the courts, anyone using her company's IP without her consent, otherwise copyrights and trademarks will be regarded as defunct.

               

              There are reasons for keeping a distributable, high resolution/vector logo. Advertising for instance. I can't count the times I have had to re-create a logo for a client because they didn't have a high-res or vector logo. An example, I will be working on a publication that is sponsored by a single client. This project is paid for by advertising fees. I receive ad information for an ad from the client and the logos are *not usable* for a high quality publication. I have to contact the advertiser in order to be authorized to recreate their trademarked logo. If I am authorized to recreate it, I recreate it and send it back to them in formats for every general purpose. If the logo is easy to reproduce, I usually don't have to charge for my service because my publication only reflects on me, a designer. (If logos look bad, I look bad.) Sometimes I do have to charge for time on a complex logo but have never had a client not gladly pay to receive high quality logos for other usage. The weird thing here is that I am being paid for someone else's design (albeit time only) and the advertiser doesn't mind. I personally wouldn't want any other designer/layout artist or whoever to recreate a logo, or any other IP that I have, and profit from it. This is the reason I always supply vector artwork to other publishers.

               

              D.

              • 4. Re: My client wants to protect her logo so that no other business can use it...
                Talyianna Level 1

                D,

                Thank you very much for all of your very helpful information!! I will look into those websites you mentioned and also share your information with her about perhaps getting a lawyer to take care of this for her...

                 

                Also, I certainly agree with you about providing vector artwork! As a standard practice, I also always supply (branding) logos and artwork in a vector form and in as many formats as possible so that they can use it as needed and it is easily available for all types of publications they need to do, both in print and online.... for the very same reasons that you stated.

                 

                Thanks again, and have a wonderful Saturday!

                 

                Christine

                • 5. Re: My client wants to protect her logo so that no other business can use it...
                  nomis123 Level 1

                  I’m not a lawyer, so please feel free to dismiss anything I say, or at least to take it with a pinch of salt, but as I understand it, your copyright exists from the moment you create something; registration would merely record the fact of your affirming that the copyright is yours.

                  So you could go ahead and use your logo, and if someone else then uses it without your granting them the right to do so, and you can show that you used it before them - a newspaper ad with the logo, a date stamped photo of the logo on the restaurant, a printed menu with an invoice from the printing company before the rip-off took place, and even if you had a good archive of preliminary sketches and correspondence showing the logo’s development, you would have a strong case for a cease and desist to be issued, or damages sought.

                  A common method of firming up such action is to send a registered packet to your lawyer or some third party containing the artwork and keep the proof of the packet being sent - it doesn’t in itself have a legal standing, but can help to show that you were on the case first.

                  The copyright registration talked of is a means of showing this history of the work - I don’t believe it confers the copyright in any sense of the word.

                   

                  Hope this helps!

                   

                  Simon

                  • 6. Re: My client wants to protect her logo so that no other business can use it...
                    D. Fraser-1eqWmH Level 2

                    Your welcome.

                     

                    If your client is serious about this, she, or her lawyer, should file a trademark of her company name, (making sure that her company name is not already trademarked,) as well as one for the logo. This way she is protected from a dispute if one arises. As I am sure you are aware, anytime you see ©, ™, ®, SM, you are very hesitant to use that without express permission. Without those little marks, those reservations that you have about using them are dramatically diminished (depending on the context, of course.) That is a good reason to get a trademark. Answers to any questions you have can be found at the two sites I linked to.

                     

                    Have a good weekend,

                    D.

                    • 7. Re: My client wants to protect her logo so that no other business can use it...
                      D. Fraser-1eqWmH Level 2

                      I'm not a lawyer either, but I have had to do this in the past. You are right about a copyright being protected, without registration, if you can prove prior use to the infringement. But this is much harder to prove if the IP is not registered. About anyone can 'spoof' all the things you suggested, except for the registered packet to the lawyer, as well as digital timestamps on anything. For some things, it isn't worth the price to get the copyright/trademark filed, but if you are serious, and are willing to fight for it in the courts, about your branding, you should file it. This really isn't about copyright as much as it is about a trademark. In certain instances, the trademark is vastly more important than a copyright. Copyrights typically refer to a work (text, photos, etc.,) something that you don't want reproduced or used without your permission. The trademark is more important in this case since it is more about the 'brand' of the company. The logo represents the company as a whole. These elements should be interchangeable depending on the medium. You don't want a competitor to use your logo as a representation for their business and therefore, that is the reason for a trademark.

                       

                      D.

                      • 8. Re: My client wants to protect her logo so that no other business can use it...
                        Wade_Zimmerman Level 6

                        First you have to register the logo for it to be protected.

                         

                        before you can do that one you must create it, then you have t use it five times that means in five different ways and in a public way.

                         

                        before you can do that you have to research that the logo has not been used before. This part is subject to subjectivity that is you might already be using the logo and then do the search and if you find out someone has been using it you have to either purchase the rights to use it or stop using it.

                         

                        However many large corporations ignore this and go ahead and use it anyway. Such as Apple as the Beatles had the registered trademark Apple long before there was anything else called Apple. I think though they have settled some of the issues they are still at it.

                         

                        So once you have done a search those things that show are are quite different you have to now register it and you can register the design of the logo and the actual name or the design and the name.

                         

                        You can even register a type font produce especially for the logo.

                         

                        A logo and trade name must be registered as such not good enough to have it copyright since you cannot copyright a name.

                         

                        so the alternative is to register it as a trade name or trademark.

                        1 person found this helpful
                        • 9. Re: My client wants to protect her logo so that no other business can use it...
                          D. Fraser-1eqWmH Level 2

                          I know all of that all too well. This is one of the reasons to have an attorney that knows all the ins-and-outs of trademarks/register marks/copyrights do this for you. Sometimes it is just easier to pay them to do all of the grunt work for you.

                           

                          Corporations ignore the search because they have the capital to try to get a trademark of the same name on an un-related business and fight for it. This is a large gray area. To use your example, Apple felt that they had a right to use the term and image of an apple for a computer company. The justification of this is that a computer company (Apple) can't be mis-represented or mis-lead as a music company (Apple Corps.) The major court issue, from my understanding, is when iTunes came about and Apple sort of became a music company (distribution.) In the OPs case, it would most definitely be prudent to do all of this research and have the logos and name registered/trademarked.

                          • 10. Re: My client wants to protect her logo so that no other business can use it...
                            D. Fraser-1eqWmH Level 2

                            There is another option, one you might want to think about. As far as I know, you can register/trademark a logo/business name locally, by state. I know I can in the state I live in. These marks are only valid in the state that grants them though, as far as I know. This is a cheaper alternative. If the company grows into a national business, you can try to register/trademark at the national level at that point.

                             

                            Just another thought...

                             

                            D

                            1 person found this helpful
                            • 11. Re: My client wants to protect her logo so that no other business can use it...
                              Talyianna Level 1

                              D,

                              Thank you SO MUCH for allllllll of this VERY helpful information. I am going to share ALL of this with her:)) This has been more helpful than you could imagine!! I really appreciate it:) It is really good to know all of this!

                               

                              Christine

                              • 12. Re: My client wants to protect her logo so that no other business can use it...
                                D. Fraser-1eqWmH Level 2

                                Glad to be of help. Not only is this just good information, but as you are doing graphic design etc, this will be good for you to know as well. I can't claim I know all of the ins-and-outs of this but, in my work, I have to know something about it. Since I have a lawyer for this, all I have to do is call him to see if I have a case or not. I know he has sent a few cease-and-desist letters on my behalf to a few companies. It can be amazing what a letter from a lawyer can do.

                                 

                                Anyway, enjoy the rest of your weekend and good luck in your endeavors...

                                 

                                D.

                                • 13. Re: My client wants to protect her logo so that no other business can use it...
                                  Wade_Zimmerman Level 6

                                  Although this has not been completely answered Fraser has offered you  lot of info so you should mark the response(s) at that you feel addressed your concern as helpful that helps others find that info.

                                   

                                  It will also give Fraser points and if he gets enough of those he can d absolutely nothing with them. So think about that as well.

                                   

                                  LOL!

                                   

                                  it is good for people who view these threads to know what was helpful.

                                  • 14. (Youcan
                                    Talyianna Level 1

                                    Wade,

                                    I will certainly do that!! I am still getting used to the new updated forums and finding my way around... I like the new look a LOT and find it much more functional:) (I haven't been around here too much since it has changed, other than my recent few questions:)

                                     

                                    Have a wonderful Sunday!

                                    Christine

                                    • 15. Re: (Youcan
                                      Wade_Zimmerman Level 6

                                      You as well!

                                      • 16. Re: My client wants to protect her logo so that no other business can use it...
                                        nomis123 Level 1

                                        Hi Wade,

                                        Could you please explain why you have to register the logo for it to be protected? If this is the case, then it’s either a major change of international copyright law, or a local to the U.S.

                                        Registering may help you prove a claim, but as I said before, up until I last had to look, the copyright exists from the moment the work is created (to whom it belongs may vary, depending on whether you create it for yourself, a client or an employer etc. of course). If you are saying copyright, and thus your protection, exists only when registered, that’s a major shift in legislation.

                                         

                                        Cheers,

                                         

                                        Simon

                                        • 17. Re: My client wants to protect her logo so that no other business can use it...
                                          Wade_Zimmerman Level 6

                                          Because you cannot copyright a name but you can register it as a 

                                          trademark.

                                           

                                          If you do not register it then you are not protected by the copyright 

                                          law.

                                           

                                          For instance you open a restaurant and you call of all things Mary.

                                          If one did a search for restaurants named Mary there probably aren't 

                                          any but since it is only a name so you select a font or create one 

                                          well yes the font design is protected but still the name is not.

                                           

                                          Since logos have more than one intellectual component you have to 

                                          register a trade mark or if you wish a logo and also it has be 

                                          something you use to protect other possible users from having access 

                                          to it. so it you just go around making up logos and make claims 

                                          against people who come up with similar designs well that won't hold 

                                          water.

                                           

                                          There is no change I had logos I designed registered and it has always 

                                          ben this way as far as I know. it has to be used five times if you do 

                                          not register it it is not protected if it is not used it is not 

                                          protect it just can't be sitting on your hard drive waiting for the 

                                          unsuspecting. If Coca Cola did not protect its trademark so carefully 

                                          it loses the right to the exclusive use of it since it is by 

                                          circumstances so widely known and used. It would become a matter of 

                                          public domain that is assimilated into the culture.

                                          • 18. Re: My client wants to protect her logo so that no other business can use it...
                                            nomis123 Level 1

                                            Ah, I see - although I think you are taking a much broader approach to it than the original question posted, and are combining two wholly separate - but related - areas of the law. Sure, there are many benefits from registering a trademark, service mark or a device, but that goes well beyond the scope of merely protecting a logo.

                                            A logo is a work of art, regardless of whether it contains a word/ name, is a symbol or just an illustration - and that has automatic protection under copyright.

                                            As an example, I could if I was so disposed, design a logo for Mary’s restaurant (or Coca-Cola); no matter what, the copyright of that design is mine. It is the fact that you have registered the trademark for Mary’s and Coca-Cola has registered its trademark, that prevents me from using my work to pass it off as pertaining to your restaurant, or Coca-Cola. But likewise, you can’t use my Mary’s logo without my permission to promote your business - the copyright in the design is mine.