The obvious answer would be, of course, you do. However, unless you’ve designed your logo yourself, there is a good chance that you don’t own it. Why is this?

Most clients or buyers of logos do not realise that the originator (designer) will, by law, retain overall copyright for the logo they have supplied. Unless you have specifically requested and received complete copyright, the buyer essentially only has the rights to use it, but not own it. If it is part of a design package, strickly speaking the buyer only has the rights to use it for those items.

The interesting thing is, not many designers themselves are aware of this, so it is very rarely a problem. However, there have been several court cases involving ownership of a logo, some quite high profile. Without copyright reassignment, the originator can reproduce your logo where and when they choose as effectively they still retain the overall rights to their work. This also applies to all design and creative work.

It is worth noting this, and in principle, you should not be charged extra to be reassigned overall copyright. A simple written request and reply, dated, is enough to protect any future disputes. This should form part of your initial contract with the supplier.

There does seem to be quite some confusion in business regarding ownership, protection and rights, particularly with start-ups and new companies. Any creative work you have produced for yourself should always include the provision of intellectual property and copyright. 

See How do you brief a logo designer?

 

Below is a quick summary of the main areas of intellectual property protection:-

 

Copyright

Copyright is the legal ownership of a type of fixed creative work, such as a logo, illustration, book, song, computer programme, or architectural work. Protecting your copyright is essential so that no one can use it without your permission.

Using the words “all rights reserved” can be part of your copyright protection strategy. Becoming the owner of a copyright is simple. The moment you create your work, you own the copyright—you don’t have to register your copyright or give any notice on the work itself. If you are buying creative services, you should have the copyright reassigned to yourself.

 


 

Registered

A registered trademark is any symbol, sign, word etc. used as a trademark by the company and is registered under the UK Trade Mark Act, 1999.

A registered trademark is protected under the UK Trademark act, 1999. A registration essentially covers you for any legal disputes regarding ownership and rights. 

Any burden of proof initially lies with the opponent to challenge the validity of the ownership and usage.

 


 

Trademark

An unregistered trademark refers to any symbol, sign, word, etc. used by the company as a trademark, but is not registered.

A trademark is only governed by Common Law. The emphasis is on you to provide the protection.

When the validity of ownership is challenged, it lies with the owner to prove rightful ownership and usage.

 


 

If you have any questions or queries about this article, please get in touch.

Some useful information 

Trademarks:-

https://www.gov.uk/search-for-trademark

https://www.gov.uk/how-to-register-a-trade-mark

Top 10 mistakes made by Trademark owners

Copyright:-

https://www.gov.uk/intellectual-property-an-overview

 

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