Recently, a gentleman named Dale walked into our shop (not his real name). As a lover of all things biker related (that's motorcycles), Dale wanted us to produce multiple copies of a motorcyle manufacturer's logo in full color. He planned on installing the logos on his car and truck windows.
Reproducing logos for use on truck and car windows is one of our services, but this particular request became an immediate problem. It was not Dale's logo. If we produced the logo without the company's consent, then that would be an infringement.
Copyright infringement, that is. And let it be known upfront that we don't like to break the law.
"No way, Jose," is what we told him. With a look of incredulity on his face, he asked why.
"It's simple," we said. "The bike manufacturer owns it. We can't make copies of their logo without their permission."
"Well, just change it a little," Dale said. "Update the look but use the same name. That way it's sort of different, and sort of the same."
"Not so fast Dale. The company owns the logo outright and had it trademarked. Neither one of us owns the trademark. Sounds like another infringement."
In short, if you're asking us to produce your logo for vehicle graphics and wraps, banners, umbrellas, posters or any other signage product, please own all the rights. Or, request information from us on logo design. We offer these services to you, and the copyright will be yours. A win-win scenario.
P.S. On this same topic, another gentleman by the name of Franz called us. He's opening a new apparel store and sent us artwork of a very familiar logo. His request is to make window graphics and a sign using just the logo.
When asked if he has permission to use the trademarked image, he immediately sent us proof that he does. Terrific!
So add that to your list of to-do's: if you want to use a trademarked logo, or copyrighted text, get permission to do so. It's not difficult, may not cost all that much money, and best of all, you're legal!