Home – New Forums Find the help you need Trade Mark/IP Question! – Looking at you guys Jacqui & Victor!

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  • #979545
    NathanB
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    Quick question about trade marks / the use of IP.

    I am working on a small project at the moment and am thinking of using a variation of the “superman” logo. I won’t be using the exact logo as “S” will be replaced with a different letter but the design, colour scheme and font may end up looking quite similar.

    My question is, does this breach the law?

    Thanks.

    #1115088
    tonyk
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    I can’t imagine that it would, but I am sure there is someone on here more knowledgable than me.

    #1115089
    victorng
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    Depends on how you use it and the degree of similarity.

    Two key issues: copyright and trade mark.

    The logo is an original copyright work. If you reproduce a ‘substantial part’ of it (think in qualitative not quantitative terms), you will infringe copyright.

    The logo is also a registered trade mark in Australia. The registration covers quite a bit – from comic books to quilt covers to backpacks to movies. If you use a similar logo in connection with similar goods, you may end up in strife.

    Other issues like misleading and deceptive conduct, passing off, etc come into play but the above are the key points.

    Happy to take this offline if you wish.

    Cheers,
    Victor

    #1115090
    Kennethti
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    You aren’t the first one to think of this!

    I have previously written about a very similar circumstance on my blog – long story short it didn’t go down very well. It was opposed by DC Comics and eventually the owner withdrew the application.

    http://www.trademark-lawyer.com.au/2010285/can-you-trade-mark-a-parody-of-a-trade-mark

    The mark was a silver diamond with the letter W rather than S, with a silver word saying “superwog” below.

    #1115091
    JacquiPryor
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    Sorry Nathan, just saw this post – and, seems Victor & Kenneth have already answered your questions so my initial response is: “what they said”.

    Moving forwards, if your project adopts a “logo” that is clearly ‘inspired’ by an existing logo/brand etc, where consumers will clearly recognise the similarities and see that your logo is a ‘play’ on someone else’s, there’s likely to be an issue in law somewhere – be that copyright/trademarks/passing off etc. If your logo attempts gaining instant recognition due to someone else’s hard work and/or reputation, there’s likely to be an issue. The IP owner will likely see this as an attempt to ‘cash in’ on their goodwill and reputation and probably won’t be ok with that.

    #1115092
    victorng
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    NathanB, post: 129122 wrote:
    … am thinking of using a variation of the “superman” logo.

    I’m surprised you’re not thinking of using a variation of the logo for The Flash…

    #1115093
    NathanB
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    Thanks guys :) I appreciate your input.

    After taking on board your advice and thinking about it in more depth, using the “superman” logo would be a bad idea as the reason I considered it in the first place was because I was hoping to leverage the already iconic symbol and its association with heroes which now seems a bit below board even with out the additional legal considerations.

    Very helpful article to by the way, Kennethti.

    I’ll hit the drawing board and see what heroic logos I can cook up on my own.

    Thanks again.

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