5 Legal Issues to Know About Before Designing Your First Business Logo

by Five Fantastic Lawyers™ on November 12, 2018

Designing your logo is equal parts logic and feeling. You want your logo to evoke a specific emotion when people see it. You want them to associate it with your branding, what you provide, and your value as a business. Logic comes into play where legal issues are concerned. While your logo is technically a piece of art, it’s something proprietary you to. It needs to be protected, and you need to be sure that no one can make a legitimate claim against the originality or ownership of your logo. Before you break out the sketchbook, make sure you have your legal bases covered.

  1. Analyze Other Logos

Look to any and all logos that use similar shapes or color palettes. This is a great idea for two reasons. The first reason is that you can avoid creating a generic logo that will make it hard for people to differentiate you and your competitors, accidentally driving their business in a different direction. The other reason is that logos that are too similar in appearance can often come into copyright conflict. That’s why it’s so important to create a logo that is entirely unique – not just different enough to “get by”. The more originality you show, the better your standings will be with brand familiarity and copyright law.

  1. Own Your Logo

Unless you have an experienced designer on staff, you’re likely going to outsource the creation of your logo to an expert. Make sure you own and retain the rights to this logo before you start using it. The person who created it technically owns it by default. They’ll need to properly transfer the ownership rights to you once they’ve been paid for their work, as specified by whatever contract or agreement was used to negotiate the deal.

Failing to obtain sole ownership leaves you open to demands. The artist can request royalties or more money every time you used the logo they crated. This typically happens in disputes where an artist feels underpaid or deceived by the person who contracted them for the work. While you should always use fair practices and compensate your artist for their hard work, it also helps to have it in writing that you exclusively own the logo they created.

  1. Trademark Your Logo

Once your unique logo has been created and you officially own the rights to it, trademark your logo. You may need the help of a lawyer to be sure that your claim is as thorough as possible. Between ownership rights and a registered trademark, it will be difficult for people to make false claims against you. Without proper copyright, it’s nearly impossible to defend against claims others may make.

  1. Avoid Unintended Misinterpretations of Your Logo

Unintended misinterpretations of logos are relatively common in businesses with international presences. Certain symbols or imagery may have an offensive or insensitive connotation to specific groups of people, even if they don’t clash locally. Many logos have controversial connotations, and you want to avoid being at the center of controversy. Activist groups may not take kindly to your logo if they interpret it as betraying something discriminatory.

  1. Protect Your Logo

Misuse of trademarks and intellectual property is alarmingly common. You need to be vigilant of the way your logos, taglines, and copyrighted imagery are used. People may be profiting off of your property or damaging your reputation by unauthorized use of things that belong to you. If you see this happening, call your lawyer immediately.

It’s important to leave no stone unturned when it comes to the branding and property of your business. Work with your legal advisor to make sure you’re protected from every angle.

Lucy Taylor is an avid blogger who enjoys sharing her tips and suggestions with her online readers. Working as a legal expert at LY Lawyers, Lucy often helps people dealing with legal problems, addictions and crime.

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