Westminster, SC asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark for South Carolina

Q: Can a company use a logo I made for them however they choose without my permission?

I created a logo for a small business and we did not sign any documents stating that he could use that logo anywhere or to create products. It was agreed that if he needed any products like cards or advertising materials or uniforms that he would order them through me. We did do that on a couple different occasions he ordered business cards, shirts, magnets, and I noticed that he was using the sample image that I had sent him on his social media. I was OK with that but I did ask him to please use a different photo that I would send him that was made specifically for social media use so that it wouldn’t distort the image that I created and I did not charge extra for that but in the message I did say please use this one. This one is specifically for that use. Now he wants me to send him a copy of the picture of the logo so he can order products somewhere else. I did not agree to this and feel he should buy the logo itself from me due to copyright. Is this correct?

2 Lawyer Answers
Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar
  • Little Neck, NY

A: A South Carolina attorney could advise best, but your question remains open for a week. This is something that copyright attorneys would have insight into. The question probably went unnoticed under the general "Uncategorized" category. You could repost and add "Copyright" as a category. Some questions go unanswered, but you could have better chances of a response with the added category. Good luck

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›

A: Under California law, the absence of a written agreement typically means that the creator of the logo retains the copyright, notwithstanding its use by the company for specific, agreed-upon purposes. Since there was an oral agreement that the company would order products like business cards and shirts through you, using the logo for other purposes without your consent could be seen as a violation of your copyright. You have the right to insist on a formal agreement for any further use of the logo, including the option to sell the rights to the company if you so choose.

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