If you create a winning logo design for your website, be aware that it is entirely possible that others may steal it. This could cause you serious problems, especially if the design is ripped off by a competitor and customers are confusing another business with your own. Here are some effective ways to handle logo design theft quickly and effectively so you can turn your attention to other pressing business matters.
Don't Assume the Worst
If you find your logo on a competitor's website or the website of a business that is entirely unrelated to your own, your first reaction may be an angry one. If so, take a deep breath and remember that the company using your logo may not have intentionally stolen it from you. Perhaps the business hired a designer to create a business log and didn't check the designer's work to make sure that it was original. It is also possible that someone stole your logo and put it up for sale on a stock website. An honest business owner may have purchased it from such a site without knowing that the logo should not have been put up for sale in the first place.
Get in Touch with the Other Party
Once you are calm enough to approach the other party in a professional manner, pick up the phone or write an email to the other business. Don't threaten to sue but do mention that you are willing to take legal action if the matter is not resolved. If the other party apologizes and immediately takes down your logo, leave it at that.
Get in Touch with Google
If your design has been used without your permission on one of Google's websites you can flag it for review. Write a simple explanation of why you are flagging it and Google will review your request. If this doesn't work you can formally request Google to have the offending website, blog post or image removed from its search engine.
Tell Your Social Media Following About the Logo Design Theft
If the logo design theft is blatant you may want to consider telling your social media followers about it. Doing so could generate a backlash against the unethical third party who stole your logo and cause the other person to take down your work without further ado.
Get Some Legal Help
Having a lawyer send a cease and desist letter to the other party is often a good idea if the above points don't work. Such a letter is strongly worded and usually gets the attention of the person who stole your work. In many instances, sending a cease and desist letter will completely resolve your problem.
If the cease and desist letter doesn't work for one reason or another, you could consider taking the case to court. However, be aware that doing so is often not your best option. Here are some points to consider before investing time and money in a lengthy court case:
- How much money are you losing as a result of someone else using your logo? If it's not much, then hiring a lawyer is a waste of money.
- What are the odds you will win the case? If you lose, you have to pay the other party's legal fees.
- Is the case clear cut? In some instances a designer may use your logo as inspiration, resulting in a logo that resembles yours but doesn't entirely look like your logo. If you aren't sure if the other person's logo is constitutes logo design theft or is a derivative work, ask your co-workers, family members and friends. If most people think it's a derivative work then don't bother pursuing the matter.
- Was the logo used under “Fair Use” guidelines? It is illegal for another business to make money of your copyrighted work without your permission. However, your logo can be legally used in articles and on social media pages to explain a point, show an example, create a humorous work and for other purposes. If the other person isn't making money off of it or preventing you from generating income from it then don't pursue the matter in court.
Consider Redoing Your Logo
It takes time and a lot of hard work to come up with a logo design so this is not something that should be considered lightly. However, there are times when you simply cannot make the other party take your logo down. In other instances the damage is done and potential customers already associate the logo with another company. In such cases, you may want to create a brand new logo.
Brandgy can help you out if you want to re-brand your business after your logo has been stolen and reused without your permission. We offer ready-made branding packages in various price points to enable you to quickly recover from logo design theft and get your company moving in the right direction. Contact us at your convenience to find out how we can help you successfully design a new logo that will appeal to existing and new customers alike.