Trademark legal request?

ignorantdoodles

New Member
I am an illustrator. I have received a request that I remove one of my drawings because it reflects the same idea as a trademark logo. I had not seen that brand before and it is not a copy, although it is the same concept.
He uses it for a brand of audiovisual and photographic services and for me it is a drawing that I sell on t-shirts, stickers ... can he demand that I remove it?

Thank you!
 

fisicx

Active Member
He can demand what ever he wants. It’s up to you what you do.

Trademarks are not bound by usage. Probably safer if you stop using it.
 

hankscorpio

Moderator
Staff member
I am an illustrator. I have received a request that I remove one of my drawings because it reflects the same idea as a trademark logo. I had not seen that brand before and it is not a copy, although it is the same concept.
He uses it for a brand of audiovisual and photographic services and for me it is a drawing that I sell on t-shirts, stickers ... can he demand that I remove it?

Thank you!
We'd need to see both.

But logo similarities happen all the time.

For example these logos are very similar - but they occupy different spaces in business - so there's no worries with cross over of confusion or ripping each others products off.
As they offer very different products and different business ideas.

1597670824334.png

1597670836035.png



This is very different to the following examples:


On one side you have Pepsi and Korean Air - and the next side is NBC and Nebrask ETV Network.

1597670853292.png 1597670862835.png

Pepsi and Korean Air can have similar logos - because they don't infringe on each others branding space - they sell different products. If Korean Air was to launch as a Softs Drink company then they would be in trouble with Pepsi (and vice versa if Pepsi launched an airline).


NBC however were in deep water over their logo. NBC paid a New York firm big money to create their new logo - Nebraska ETV Network was drawn by a student/intern of the TV network.
NBC were sued over the logo and Nebraska ETV won as they were using it for a while before NBC.

Whether it was an accident or fully copied from NETV - that is unknown - but they are both TV stations and operated the same business - so having similar logos was an infringement.



It completely depends on the logos etc. you'll have to show us.
 

Levi

Moderator
Staff member
Is the logo actually trademarked would be my first thought... it's not exactly hard to stick tm on something and say it is trademarked even though legally standing it's not.
 

scotty

Moderator
Staff member
I'd be kind of surprised if the other party had registered their logo as a trademark.

In all the years of being a Designer, only once have I know anyone register their logo.
In the UK you need to send it in to have it assessed to see if it can be trademarked and you have to pay a fee as well.

Can't you post them both up?
 

hankscorpio

Moderator
Staff member
I'd be kind of surprised if the other party had registered their logo as a trademark.

In all the years of being a Designer, only once have I know anyone register their logo.
In the UK you need to send it in to have it assessed to see if it can be trademarked and you have to pay a fee as well.

Can't you post them both up?
Yes, remember some people trying to trademark a colour - I think Cadburys tried with their purple.
You can't trademark a shade of a colour.

Most stuff comes under "intellectual property" and you don't even need to put <copyright> on it. It's automatically copyrighted.

You can search for the trademark - and if they don't have one then it's probably fair game.
 

Levi

Moderator
Staff member
Have any of you seen this?

Apple are taking legal action against a food company that have a pear for their logo.
Yeah I've seen that, it's completely ridiculous imo but then Apple aren't exactly doing well in terms of 'pr' at the moment....

Legal action against a small company that doesn't look anything like apple logo, stadia/xbox streaming being blocked due to 'rules' (which don't affect video streaming...) and in many people's view to protect apple arcade, epic now taking them to court of anti competitive practices in the store (along with government enquiries) and the 'forced' usage of apple payment processing, then supposedly hitting back at epic suing them by blocking epic any access to iOS by removing dev tool, which also affects unreal and any company that uses it....

IMO apple aren't going to come out of this smelling of roses imo... mobile gaming, and the new streaming services are a HUGE market and they've gone against 3 of the biggest in the current market.
 

sprout

Active Member
Without seeing them, as others have said, it is impossible to say.

However, you mention that the other party has claimed it reflects the same idea as theirs. If this is the case and it doesn’t look substantially similar, then they have no legs to their claim.

Ideas cannot be copyright, only the execution of an idea can. For example, if you had two logos that were highlighting the effects of global warming on low-lying coral islands and they both used the idea of a throwing a lifeline, (off the top of my head, for want of something less cheesy and obvious) and the execution of both was very different, but they used this same idea, there is no copyright infringement to answer to.

The caveat to this is that I am not a lawyer, so you’d need to get some professional advice, but to the best of my knowledge, this is the case.
 

sprout

Active Member
Yes, he can demand to remove it and you can't do anything with that.
I think this whole area is a lot more nuanced than that, otherwise someone could object to anything and force you to remove it. It has to be substantially and evidentially similar.
 

ignorantdoodles

New Member
I attach the images in question. The first is my drawing, the second is his logo.
yinyang.jpg large.png

I don't use it as a logo and I don't have any kind of competition with he. If that were the case, I would understand. For me it's only an illustration. If you search, you find more illustrations with this concept.

I don’t imagine the Smiley brand denounced all drawings with a smiley face (unless they are plagiarism), absurd!

His rude demand is what has bothered me the most, saying that I used his work and reporting on the pages where it was uploaded.
“… you are using my trademarked image for profit. Please remove immediately or you will receiving an invoice from me. This is an official cease and desist letter…”

I have had to remove the image from all sites and have a copy accusation without time to talk! I think he has wronged me in an unfair way. I hate the world where there are actions of this type.
 

sprout

Active Member
I’d be very surprised if he had a registered trademark based on such a ubiquitous philosophical symbol? You can hardly claim exclusive trademark rights to a symbol that is 90% someone else’s work (albeit public domain).

Just do a quick google search, there are plenty of other people have used a smiley face In that symbol. personally I would ignore him and continue to use it. Throw it all back to him and tell him you are going to continue to use it as an adaptation of a public domain image until he can provide the legal proof that he now has exclusivity on the yin-yang symbol. He’d have to stop everyone else using it too, such as, oh I don’t know, say, the Chinese!

The only legitimate claim I can see he would ever have is if you had exactly copied his logo. You haven’t, therefore it is allowable. He is just using bullying tactics to my mind, with something he has no rights to.

Unless someone else knows more about this than I do and there is some obscure loophole that allows him, as I say, I’d put the burden of proof back on him. Its not as if he created it, unless he has a paper trail and can prove that he is over 2600 years old!
 

ignorantdoodles

New Member
Yes! He claims as his own an image based on a public symbol!
In addition, it is not the same idea! since there are two smiling faces in my drawing and only one in his logo.
 

sprout

Active Member
Yes! He claims as his own an image based on a public symbol!
In addition, it is not the same idea! since there are two smiling faces in my drawing and only one in his logo.
Seriously, throw it back at him and ask for the proof that he has legal rights to it. Yours differs in execution, so you evidently didn’t just ‘lift’ his – not that you would want to really!

However, unless this is yours, looks like you might have a more legitimate claim to issue a ‘cease and desist’ letter!!
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ignorantdoodles

New Member
Seriously, throw it back at him and ask for the proof that he has legal rights to it. Yours differs in execution, so you evidently didn’t just ‘lift’ his – not that you would want to really!

However, unless this is yours, looks like you might have a more legitimate claim to issue a ‘cease and desist’ letter!!
[/URL]

Yes, he has the logo registered, he sent me the registration.
Yes! the clock it's mine. I use this design in products, such as wall clocks, badges...

But the theme remains the same, he cannot claim all the pictures that look like his logo!
It is clear that he was annoyed to see a similar design in products. But in my opinion that does not give him the right to veto them.
 

sprout

Active Member
I can only assume it can only be a registration for an exact incarnation of his logo. Yours isn‘t. However, this is where I have to bow to superior knowledge. I don’t have specific legal knowledge. You could drop these guys a line. Years ago, with another hat on, I was European Editor of a publication called Visual Arts Trends (now long defunct), I remember we did an article about this organisation. They are were super nice and Dids MacDonald who set it up was really helpful. Drop them a line, they may be able to help, or at least point you in the right direction.
 

Levi

Moderator
Staff member
Yes, he has the logo registered, he sent me the registration.
What type of thing has he sent as registration... is it a link to something like the gov.uk site earlier on or is just a 'text document' that says he has it registered (most of us on here can knock one of those out in a few minutes...). Is it registered in your country etc... just because something is registered in one country doesn't automatically mean it's registered in another.

TBH I'd probably suggest like above, get in touch with local authorities who are more aware of the law in your country and see what they say.
 
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