Stolen logo... Advice?


New Member

I am brand new to this forum.

I am desperately seeking help in this interesting case.

Last year I was commissioned by a new mountain bike clothing company to create a logo for them as well as a set of designs for tees.

I did a load of design work for them and they cancelled the project half way through. They never paid me a penny. After a few heated phone calls I realised the only way to get any money was going to court. I let it lie. I couldn't be bothered to pursue it. I am very busy.

However this year the company launched. They have been going to mountain bike events and have launched a Facebook page.
Low and behold the logo they are using is EXACTLY the logo i designed and never got paid for.

As you can imagine my blood rose to boiling point and I grabbed the nearest phone to speak my mind. Half expecting them to admit it 'Ok you caught us, how much do you want?"

But far from it. they claim the logo was their idea! They then got another designer to create their idea.
Not only that I was threatened with them ruining my reputation, physical abuse and a load of legal nonsense about how they have copyrighted the logo.

However as mad as this sounds. It threw me.. Hmm.. Maybe they do have some ownership rights?

They are arguing that the idea of including a 'disc brake' and Adidas style (Avant Garde) font was there idea.
It may well have been from their input at some point in the design process but it certainly wasn't the initial brief and even if it was so what?
They didn't design it!

Well I checked my files. And guess what there are no less than 4,... Yes 4 full proof sheets showing a design process leading to this final logo.

Here are my design sheets:

I could have watermarked the designs. It won't have mattered it was an easy design to copy.

I have since then learnt to be much more stringent on this sort of thing. You live and learn after all!

I have as evidence: Layered files (with dates modified) and the proof sheets. As well as a confirmation of work from them in the form of a confidentiality agreement.

is this a sure fire thing for me? Anyone had any similar experiences?


Senior Member
I had a very similar thing happen to me on a smaller scale.

Came up with various identities - narrowed down to one - amended it - supplied it - client didn't pay as their 'web designer friend' came up with an alternative, fair enough but pissed off.

Found out two weeks later they'd used the exact same identity in every way shape colour and formbut used Arial in place of Helvetica.

Wasn't worth the hassle of small claims court (which i strongly advise in your case) so i said either pay me what you owe me or i'll beat it out of you when i see you next.

He didnt pay and i havent seen him since.

Rule 1: always get (at least half) money up front and don't work for 'former work friends'.


Sounds like they really are trying to screw you over. Did you get them to sign any formal contract? I'd chronologically collect all correspondence you've had with them; so sent/ received emails, write down dates and details of calls as far as you can remember, then I think you'd need to get some legal advice. Without a contract it may be tricky but it still sounds like you could have a solid enough case.


Senior Member
yeah... take a look at what contract you signed.

maybe seek legal advice somewhere, but this is definitely a case you could fight if you have the technicalities signed off in your favour.

i had a logo stolen that i made for a client. when i pressed them for it the paid me £100. bit of a joke really, but better than nothing.

best logo i ever did too, and now it's hard to claim it's mine.


New Member
Thanks for your feedback.

I do usually get a deposit. Sods law, this time I didn't.
I always work on 50% of lowest estimated fee upfront and then full payment prior to be handing over final files.

However you know when someone is dangling that carrot of 'if this take off we could be rich ....' in front of you you kind of go ahead anyway.
Its stupid i know.

I have the original quotes etc. I have forwarded them on to a lawyer who is looking into it.

Wat appears to be a grey area is this...

The cog image (which is a disc brake) isn't my own design. This was based on a photograph I was supplied of a disc brake.
The pattern is very similar. So effectively I don't own that part of the image. But then neither do they.

I created these designs which were essentially mockups. Kind of rough ideas from which to produce a finished design once approved.
Once I would go to final designs I would change the disc part to make it my own.

However they have taken a mock up and used it as their final logo.

It looks like no one will end up owning the logo but I will get my fee hopefully for the design work.

I am hoping that they have to recall all their products and rebrand. That would satisfy me,

(yeah my head hurts too!)


Senior Member
as far as i see it you still carried out the work, they can't just screenshot it, add some grass effects with a plug-in brush in photoshop and claim their logo without giving you credit.

but that's my opinion, not law.

who knows.


Well the law is quite clear that the copyright of any intellectual property belongs to the creator until such written documentation states otherwise. As this would be a civil case you only have to prove on balance of probability that you are the copyright owner, which your evidence as previously mentioned would be more than sufficient to prove so.

What they have done is taken your original piece of artwork and created a derivative work, something based largely on another, copyrighted piece of work. Unless you expressed, in written form, that they either have license to create derivative works or that you transferred the copyright to them, then they are indeed committing copyright infringement.

You may not own the copyright to the logo they use, but you do own (you do not need to register anything to own the copyright to an IP) the copyright to the IP their logo is a derivative of.

Please let us know how this turns out, I'd love to hear that they had to recall all of their products :)