Logo Design Love

For graphic designers and all who love logos.

Love Irish Food could lose millions

The Sunday Times reports on the similarities between the recent Love Irish Food logo and the Food & Drink Devon logo created five years back.

Love Irish Food Drink Devon logo

The Love Irish Food campaign has added its logo to the packaging of more than 30 of the Irish food market’s leading companies (including the likes of Tayto, Ballygowan, and Batchelors), so if the Food & Drink Devon legal team win in a case of trademark infringement, we’re looking at a multi-million-euro design blunder.

Love Irish Food didn’t reply to an invitation to comment on my post, but they did say this in The Times article:

“We are aware of the online debate that is happening, particularly on specialist design websites. The Love Irish Food logo is trademarked. It means it is a unique logo. We would prefer to focus on what Love Irish Food stands for rather than the logo itself.”

My idea of unique is quite different.

Tell me, if both logos are trademarked, and given how one of the most important trademarking factors involves logos in the same industry—as these two are—just how effective is the trademarking process? Is it money wasted? Does it depend on the quality of your trademark lawyer?

More questions than answers.

Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities, second edition

32 appreciated comments

  1. The typical ostrich-head-in-the-sand reaction you’d expect from such an organisation… “Let’s pretend nothing happened for we will look stupid if we admit we’ve failed. Say it’s trademarked, yeah, that will work for the media”.

  2. Mo

    lol Love Irish Food YouFail.org

  3. Ben

    David, I agree that the logos are way too similar to be considered “unique.” The big issue for me is both of them being in the same industry and still being so similar.

    We have all seen different companies use similar logos but these are mostly not related by industry and could be written of as (possibly) coincidental. I have a hard time believing the Love Irish Food group was not aware of the Food & Drink Devon logo.

  4. “The Love Irish Food logo is trademarked. It means it is a unique logo.” Clearly it doesnt. The Trademark people need to pull their socks up.

  5. I agree with the others that it’s a pretty lame comeback to say because something is trademarked it means it’s unique.

    But, I think there’s an argument in not knowing the Food, Drink Devon logo existed prior to undertaking the project.

  6. These things drive me batty. These logos aren’t easily confused and share, what, a rotated heart, the color green, and the word “food?” I hope they “get away” with it because as one of the consumers these laws are trying to protect, I ain’t getting these mixed up.

  7. ant

    They’re similar, but not the same. Only thing the same is the heart, can’t imagine Food & Drink Devon winning the case based on that.

  8. Ant,

    If they weren’t in the same industry, I’d agree with you. However, I think these are way to similar.

  9. Andy

    Isn’t the biggest responsibility of the agencies that issue the trademarks to make sure that the item in question is, in fact, unique. Love Irish Food might have to cease using the logo after the legal proceedings are done, but I doubt they will be responsible for any financial damages because of the fact that their trademark was officially approved and issued (allegedly).

  10. ant

    You’re right they are too similar, but I thought for Food & Drink Devon to win a court case the logos would have to be exactly the same : serif vs. non serif, positive vs. negative, and little heart inside the big heart.

  11. I dont know much about Ireland, but trademark infringment aside, if I were the country of Ireland I would lean on the the loveirishfood organization to do a redesign. The fact that both the logo’s look the same projects an unoriginal and even boring and bland image of the “irish food industry”. I’m sure this is something that these two brands were at least partly ,created to combat in the first place.

  12. alex

    I don’t know much about trademarking but Love Irish Food did use the exact same B/heart for their logo. Maybe its not the entire logo under questioning but the heart. LogoDesignLove uses a heart but not the same heart from “weheartit.com” or “ffffound.com” or Love Irish Food. Love Irish Food’s brand name will be negatively impacted whether the lawsuit passes or not due to unoriginal and sloppy logo design thats for certain.

  13. From my brief knowledge of trademarking the difference between a register and non registered mark means everything. From what our trademark attornies say the TM symbol means one thing – the logo is not trademarked. This is because a trademark wil only hold up in a dispute if it is registered with would carry the R (in a circle). As niether of these carry the registered mark if would question if either has the right to defend it. The fact that Devon logo has the TM symbol tells me that it’s not registered.

    I think the only issue here would be copyright which would need to determine which was created first.

    I might be wrong though ;-)

    Tom

  14. GT

    I think we are missing the most important part of all of this…

    …the new logo is UGLY. I know ugly is subjective, but seriously. Let’s take a 3D-esque medallion, mask out a cocked heart and call it a logo.

    As far as being UNIQUE. There are a million and one ways to make a heart. These two hearts just HAPPEN to be the same scale and shape (seriously, overlay the older heart over the newer one. fits exactly).

    In a case like this, what liabilities are there on the designer if it is found that by virtue of him NOT doing his job, he caused damages.

  15. This is an interesting, and I imagine rare, case of two quite high profile logos in the same industry being so similar. It seems clear to me that the “Love Irish Food” design has borrowed heavily from “Food & Drink Devon” logo, whether that was intentional or not is another matter.

    Surely the designers should have fully researched logo’s in this same field (a standard practice), and I imagine they would have discovered the “Love Irish Food” logo quite readily in doing this.

    It will be very interesting now to see how this situation develops, but considering the similarities and the fact both logos are for same industry I imagine that “Food & Drink Devon” have practically won the case already.

  16. Sentry

    This is a disaster for irish food, even bigger than Quarks clanger with the Scottish Heritage Council. Same Industry, separated by a few miles… lazy design and research… ohhhh look, Heart on its side… lets roll with that, if they had even added an extra leaf they could of had a shamrock vis a vis love heart as tacky as that it would have been a better option, but to blatantly do that… wonder will heads roll for this? They need to change it fast. Changing it would mean they are serious about their intentions.

  17. Nice discussion, everyone.

    Abbas, yes, there’s an argument to say the designer wasn’t aware of the Food & Drink Devon design, but what I want to know about is how the trademarking process didn’t show it, or if it did, would a trademark lawyer consider these two designs different enough to run in the same industry.

    Andy, that’s a good point. If Love Irish Food successfully went through the trademarking process, I’d like to think they aren’t liable for damages. What a hassle, though, potentially recalling the food products of more than 30 companies all displaying the logo.

    Dwayne, I’m with you there. It doesn’t say a lot for the calibre of design here in Ireland. Whether the designer was Irish is another question. I guess it was an in-house job, probably by committee (hence the “web 2.0″ button effect — “webify it!”)

    Alex, it’d be a combination of elements — the heart on its side, the proportions, the text on three lines within the heart, the colour, the industry, the slogan (Food & Drink Devon’s slogan is “Love The Flavour”).

    Bluegg, another good point. Showing the TM symbol is, to me (and thanks to previous commenters here), a pointless exercise. The only symbol I see the need for is the R within a circle, to prove it’s registered.

    Stephen, it is a rare case, and you’re spot on. Either the research was lacking or the lazy option was taken.

  18. As an observer its clear that the ‘Love Irish Food’ logotype was heavily inspired by the ‘Food & Drink Devon’ brand.

    I’d consider it a gross failure for not only the design team but the trade mark process. This design was a lazy approach and a lost opportunity to develop something unique for Ireland.

  19. Sentry

    Dwayne, I’m with you there. It doesn’t say a lot for the calibre of design here in Ireland. Whether the designer was Irish is another question. I guess it was an in-house job, probably by committee (hence the “web 2.0″ button effect — “webify it!”)

    I wouldn’t imagine it was an in-house jobby, but I would imagine it was heavily influenced and possibly hijacked by the ‘Decide by Committee’, to me the webified roundel where an after thought. Been an Irish designer myself am a little disappointed with this effort.

  20. I agree with David that the Trademark process comes under fire here. For two very similar logos (concept, color, verbiage… they are more similar than dissimilar) for entities in the same industry in the same geographical area to be approved by such an important agency shows a real problem within that agency. And it makes me wonder if the problem is more widespread than the UK. I will definitely be doing more research here in the US because of this case.

    But I wonder how much trouble the trademarking organization will actually be in. If it is proven that Love Irish Food knew prior about the Food Drink Devon, does that get the trademarking organization off the hook? Or do they share the blame or does Love Irish Food sue them for not doing their jobs either?

    So many dropped balls!

  21. “hence the “web 2.0″ button effect — “webify it!””

    @Sentry: I think you’re onto something!

    I think it’s interesting to go about analyzing these logos by simulating the process of “tweaking the original.”

    It really does look like the designer(s) were doing research on logos, did a Google search for “heart logo”, and found a “concept” (or design element) they liked. They borrowed the sideways heart, inversed it, used a generic, all-CAPS logotype (Futura/Gill Sans?), and as Sentry put it, they “webified it.” I think they got greedy when they stacked the three words above each other and went with the obvious Irish green.

    But it’s the little details like using web design button effects and gradients in the logo (bad logo design practices) and the poor placement of the heart within the circle, that make it seem like it’s the act of tweaking vs the act of creating. There’s a language to the F&DD logo, while the LIF logo seems more like patch work.

    At least that’s my conspiracy theory. ;) Great site, Dave.

  22. Oh wow, when I read your previous posting on this logo I presumed that there was some sort of organisational link between these two logos!

    You know like part of a group of food logos or something for different countrys/counties or what not.

    How on earth could Love Irish Food (or their designer) be that utterly stupid to create a near identical design!

  23. A lot of questions, Trish. Certainly (and dropped balls).

    Amanda, your guess is as good as mine.

  24. Rodi

    What about this? It’s a bit closer to home…

    http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/brand/index.asp

  25. Irrespective of the inadequacies ot the trademark process, if I were Irish Food, I’d want an original logo. if their agency couldn’t envisage a meld between a shamrock and a heart, they deserve the chop anyway.

  26. What about the Belfast City logo…is this not also ‘too close’?

    http://www.logodesignlove.com/new-logo-design-belfast-city

  27. Sideways

    I’ve probably drawn the sideways heart a dozen times when sketching new logos but always decided it is too lazy an answer to a design problem. In this case it seems that the hearts fit perfectly into each other, what are the chances of that. I think the designer was lazy or the customer asked for it to be done that way and the designer did not fight them.

    This seems to be going on a lot specially on logo design sites, either a lot of clipart or stealing from designers, I hope that this helps control some of that but I doubt it will.

  28. Nick

    At first glance, the similarities are uncomfortable, true.

    There seems to be 3 points to consider

    1) The colour – Both are green, not uncommon when associated with food, but I would defend the Irish logo using green (how could they not)

    2) The heart on it’s side. As mentioned plenty of times here – the heart on its side is far from unique – so why should either logo claim to be more worthy. In defense of the Irish logo – it mentions LOVE… again, hard to avoid the heart symbol.

    3) The industry. Both are connected to food – which is the real issue. If they were different industries the problem would lessen.Can’t do much about that!

    Given that the execution and typography are totally different, I can’t see any case for plagarism.

    Go hearts!

  29. Fin O'Driscoll

    As a trademark lawyer in Ireland I might be able to shed some light on how the the two could be trademarked. When registering a trademark you have to register it to a paticular geographical area i.e Ireland, the UK, both, all of EU or the whole world. As you can imagine the bigger the geographical area the higher the cost. Therefore I bet the Devon one was registered only in the UK and the Ire one only in Ireland. Hence the two registered but too similar trademarks.

  30. Thanks for the insight, Fin. Good to get another opinion from a trademark lawyer.


Search

Supported by

Good books

These and more here.

Web hosting by

Sites you might like

Join 300,000+ fans


logo design love heart