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  • Logo Infringement Claims

    Hi, I am part of a social creative site called CrowdSpring. I won a project last year, and now the client has received an email saying that we used their design. The design initially was a type based design, however, I continued working with them and eventually incorporated a coffee cup. I don't recall seeing the other designers work during the competition and I did not copy it. However, the design was quite similar to the entry she had made. The elements of the design are different in several ways(for ex: she had rounded ends, different weights, different type face/placement, etc). She is claiming logo infringement, and threatening legal action. Does anyone know the rules on this matter? I'm uploading a comparison jpg to this thread. Anyone with any answers, please help. Thanks
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Hi Lsky22 and welcome to GDF.

    We ask all new members to read the threads posted HERE and HERE. They explain how the forum runs, the rules, frequently discussed topics and our inside jokes.

    We don't usually allow for posting of other designer's work, but since this isn't a crit, but a comparison for copyright claims, I will allow it.

    Crowdsource contests are generally frowned upon on these forums. Is there a forum on the crowdsource website where you can find advice? I feel like if they got you into this mess, they should give you advice on how to get you out.

    It's fairly common for 2 designers to independently come up with similar solutions for different clients. But this kind of coincidence where 2 designers design the same logo for the same client rarely happens in the real world.

    The top logo is clearly more polished, but the cup drawings are too similar for comfort. I'm sure that while the client would have received many cup solutions, the other designer is right in her concerns that the two cup drawings are almost identical.
    It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?" Winnie the Pooh

    Comment


    • #3
      I am not an expert at any legal matters. But I guess the question is, even if you didn't recall seeing her logo, did you at any point look over any of the other contestants logos? Because you might have glanced at it and not realized it made an impression. If you are sure you didn't look at any other logos I would argue that you never saw anyone elses work.

      Secondly, the design elements are not so original that the other designer could say it was definitely an infringement. Honestly, all the elements are similar but the concept is not that unusual that two people couldn't have come up with the same thing.

      Sorry if it's not much help!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by budafist View Post
        Hi Lsky22 and welcome to GDF.


        The top logo is clearly more polished, but the cup drawings are too similar for comfort. I'm sure that while the client would have received many cup solutions, the other designer is right in her concerns that the two cup drawings are almost identical.
        Yes, due to the open coffee cup and the placement of it is my only concern that the winner may have glanced at the other designers logo without remembering. Otherwise, having a copy based logo and a coffee cup are not such unusual concepts at all.

        Comment


        • #5
          You said it was originally a word mark, the client could have lead you in the direction of incorporating a coffee cup (like one of these type thing). The other designer just got CROWD-SOURCED, take heed it could very well happen to you if you continue to participate in that crap.

          The other designer (if they participated in the same contest) probably doesn't own the rights to her logo due some obscure & crazy crowd source contest rule, and/or doesn't have any real copyright on their mark anyways and are just bitter cause they got CROWD-SOURCED hard with no warning... or lube.
          Design is not decoration.

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          • #6
            threatening legal action and actually doing it are two very different things. If she decides to take it to court she has to serve you. So don't sign for any certified letters, ups packages, etc, don't take anything from strangers. Suing is a whole lot of work for a whole little money, but I'm sure she's loving scaring you.

            Comment


            • #7
              Just on a quick google image search I've found a few coffee cups illustrated the way that's done in both logos.

              If you can prove that you have sketches, revisions and emails, texts, or notes from the coffee company on the changes THEY requested, and you can show the evolution of your coffee cup... well then I don't think you have much to worry about.


              Gather up all your correspondences with the coffee company and all the revisions you did, and there you have your proof that you didn't copy the logo.

              "May your hats fly as high as your dreams"Michael Scott

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by eugenetyson View Post
                Just on a quick google image search I've found a few coffee cups illustrated the way that's done in both logos.

                If you can prove that you have sketches, revisions and emails, texts, or notes from the coffee company on the changes THEY requested, and you can show the evolution of your coffee cup... well then I don't think you have much to worry about.


                Gather up all your correspondences with the coffee company and all the revisions you did, and there you have your proof that you didn't copy the logo.
                That's based on the assumption that there was a revision and proofing process and that the logos are not just posted up somewhere online for the world to see. That particular site boasts an average of 110+ entries for every logo contest.
                Last edited by Buda; 02-09-2012, 09:48 AM.
                It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?" Winnie the Pooh

                Comment


                • #9
                  Someone at a crowd source site is crying 'wah' ???
                  AAAaaaawwww. Tooooooo Bad.

                  First, since it's a logo, I doubt the other designer has submitted it for copyright protection. If they did, they wouldn't have been able to turn it over to the client per the contest rules. Who posted it on the crowd source first? If they didn't register it, they can't sue for lost income. And besides, what was the prize? $100??? Not worth 10 minutes of a lawyer's time.

                  Second, there was a logo on here just the other day that used a clipart coffee cup logo that was very similar to both of these.

                  Third, if the so-called client gets 'served', well, that serves them right.

                  Actually I'd like to see what happens as the result of such a court action. Maybe not quite so many people would involve themselves in crowdsourcing. Everyone takes their chances there and only one person maybe gets paid.

                  PS, you didn't ask for a crit, but does your logo work without the coffee background? (assuming yours in the top)
                  Last edited by PrintDriver; 02-09-2012, 11:33 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I was only saying yesterday, on another forum that posted something about crowdsourcing, that people who submit to crowdsourcing sites run the risk of exactly what PD mentioned here.
                    1. Use of clipart or like images
                    2. Use of other designers or part thereof another logo/design to supplement their own
                    3. The Company sponsoring the competition for the logo runs the risk of being sued, the case I brought to attention was Nebraska TV vs NBC (although that was hardly crowdsourced it was a mild coincidence I think... but still a good enough reason.
                    4. The client doesn't get a version that can be used across all mediums, from screen printing to embroidery to large fortmat, to spot colours, to cmyk, to rgb, to lab, to reversed out, black and white only etc.
                    5. And a few other things.

                    Lunch

                    "May your hats fly as high as your dreams"Michael Scott

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      And the client is mad because they spent so much money on a logo, huh?


                      This is why friends don't let friends use crowd sourcing.
                      Heresy is a victimless crime.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        This thread makes me

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          This thread should be a sticky.

                          It really is the textbook example of the pitfalls of the whole crowd source thing.

                          I don't want to sound like I am piling on the OP, but it should be said to all those clients going to Crowd Spring looking for a cheap logo.
                          If you want amateur pricing and amateur vetting, you will get amateur results.


                          A professional logo and branding is NOT a terribly high business expense, but all too often it is treated like an afterthought.
                          Heresy is a victimless crime.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            It should also be printed and passed out to every student in a Graphic Design College program...

                            LOL, I just went back and read the original post.

                            Someone sent the client a notice after they didn't win the contest but the client went on to develop something similar to another design posted. ie they incorporated an element they liked with the design they selected.
                            Too classic.
                            I'm sure the OP hates us now but I'd sure love to know how this all pans out in the end.
                            Does the client get a C&D? Do they heed it? Do they sue the winning designer for providing a <retread> logo? Does the other designer sue? Will a lawyer or small claims judge care enough to hear the case? Tune in tomorrow, same bat time, same bat channel.


                            The NBC case has nothing to do with crowdsourcing and was simply a design that just happened to look like a very small network's logo, I'm sure totally unrelated or copied BUT what failed was NBC's trademark search. That should have been caught by the legal team.
                            No one on a crowdsource site is going to do a trademark search (some don't even know they should) and wouldn't even think to do a clip art search for a licensing violation.
                            Last edited by PrintDriver; 02-09-2012, 01:59 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I have to ask here, because I have never even heard of Crowdsource before I read this thread. I went to the .com and it was for a completely different type of website and it was not design related. What's their website and what are they all about? Of course I wouldn't consider using them, I'm just curious.

                              Comment

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