Thursday, May 22, 2014

Why you should register your logo

Yesterday I did my regularly scheduled online search to find any plagiarism of my work that's taking place. Usually I find a lot of designs and illustrations I have created for my clients being plagiarised. This time I found my own logo being used by a relatively new company called Ad Factory. It seems that they just launched their ad generator app within the past two weeks or so and used the infringing logo on their website and YouTube videos...

I did some research, found the contact information of the company owner, and gave him a call. After some back and forth communication the basic gist of the Ad Factory owners side of this was the following. He talked to his designer who said the logo was a completely original design, and he believes the designer. He doesn't want to change the logo because he likes it. Then, he said the logos aren't the same, and later claimed that they are only a little bit similar in some parts and that similar logos can exist for different businesses. He also threw the word "lawyer" around and something about going to court.

Fortunately, I have the logo registered with the US Copyright Office. So, I e-mailed the owner of Ad Factory the registration number for the logo and a link to the Copyright office website where he could do a search to verify it. Within a few hours the logo was changed. Had I not registered the logo I very well may have ended up in court trying to prove that I am in fact the designer and owner of the logo, which would have wasted a lot of my time and money. Having a logo registered doesn't guarantee that someone won't try and take some sort legal action against your company. But it is some heavy artillery to have on your side in case that you do end up in court.

The internet is pretty much the Wild West these days. Anything that is online is up for grabs for any unscrupulous designer or business owner who won't think twice about copying or stealing existing designs. Consulting a qualified intellectual property attorney about registering your logo is a necessary and important first step in protecting your business.


Vincent Burkhead said...

insane. Good thing you did register it.
How do you go about searching for infringement logos? Seems like a difficult thing to do...
Thanks for sharing.
- Vincent

Marco Echevarria said...

I use Google's search by image. You can type the image address into the search field or drag an image from your desktop directly into the search field, and it finds similar images on the web.

I have the Chrome extension installed, so I can just right click on any image I already have online and I get an option from the drop down menu to do the search.