Lake Stevens, WA asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark for Tennessee

Q: Copyright/trademark infringement by a third-party who isn't stopping.

I am a Seattle-based freelance designer that created a logo in 2014 for a client in TN. That client is, and the logo was discovered to being used by someone else in 2015. We both told her to cease and desist using it in her social media channels and website. She complied, but blocked us from contacting her afterwards. Fast forward to yesterday, we discovered her using the logo again in her social media assets and FB channels. We asked her to cease and desist again. She took those down, but then later resurfaced as a different entity on FB with the same social media images and the logo embedded in it. I took pics on all the times she infringed.

I don't think she is going to stop using my client's logo, and my client wants to figure out how she can stop this person from infringing on her logo. How can we achieve this within a strict budget and stop this person from reusing the logo?

2 Lawyer Answers
Will Blackton
Will Blackton
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Raleigh, NC

A: Have you filed for copyright protection for the image? If so, it's likely that an attorney would assist you for a portion of any money recovered from the person infringing. Filing for copyright protection for a single work of visual art is $35, it's $55 to file for multiple works. Determine who owns the rights to this logo, you or your client, before filing for protection.

Consult with an attorney if you have additional questions about the process.

If you have not filed for copyright protection, you would be limited to suing for actual damages, which are generally very difficult to prove. There's nothing preventing you from filing for copyright protection now, but you would not be able to recover statutory damages for infringement that predates your application.

Kevin Christopher agrees with this answer

Kevin Christopher
Kevin Christopher
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Nashville, TN
  • Licensed in Tennessee

A: Will refers to the fact that under copyright law the infringed party may be able to collect statutory damages, which do not require a finding of actual harm / damages. You very well may be able to prove damages under a different theory of infringement, but a lawyer would be more likely to take your case on a contingency basis via the copyright claim.

Will Blackton agrees with this answer

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