A reader asked this question in the comment thread of an old post.
“I have a client with a food product and they asked me to copy the logo of a well known brand. When I mentioned trademark infringement the client said they researched the issue, ‘We made sure their trademark is only for alcohol products.’
“I still think the client will get sued because they want their customers to recognise the brand, and they’ll use the design to help push sales.
“What’s your take?”
Trademarks are registered within various categories, with each category covering different goods and services, so similar designs can still be trademarked if the companies aren’t competitors. But I’m no expert on IP law, so it’s best to get advice from a trademark lawyer.
Registration aside, you don’t become a designer to copy other people’s work.
You’re better than that.
And if someone asks you to copy something, there’s really no need for a designer.
Here are a few trademark resources:
- USPTO: United States Patent and Trademark Office
- Intellectual Property Office (UK)
- Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (European Union)
- IP Australia
- INTA: International Trademark Association
- Patent and Trademark Information, from University Libraries
- Common misconceptions about trademarks, a PDF from Interbrand
- Can I use that trademark? Maybe., on the Siegel+Gale blog
- Trademarkia, free trademark search online
From the archives: Trademark symbols, what’s the point?
The perils of trademarking logos, by Michael Johnson