Brandsmith & Co

Understanding Logo Ownership: What to Know When Working with Graphic Artists and Designers

When it comes to creating brand logos, understanding copyright ownership is crucial.

Copyright law grants exclusive rights to creators of original works including artistic works such as logos. If you design your logo, you are generally the copyright owner, but it’s important to consider assigning ownership to the entity that will use the trade mark. When commissioning a graphic artist or designer, they usually own the logo unless specific legal steps are taken.

Before using the logo for your business, recognise that you might be using something you don’t technically own. Even with an implied or express license, there are significant benefits to owning the copyright outright. As the copyright owner, you have the freedom to use the logo for your business needs, including on your website and in marketing materials. You also gain the right to apply for trade mark registration, a critical step in securing protection of your brand.

Common issues arise when applicants lack actual ownership during registration or when trade marks are registered under the wrong entity. Remember, you’ll need proof of ownership if someone infringes your trade mark. Merely paying a graphic artist or designer might not suffice for copyright ownership.

In Australia, section 196 of the Copyright Act, stipulates that an assignment of copyright must be in writing and signed by or on behalf of the assignor. This is typically done through a written agreement signed by the original creator. Consulting an intellectual property lawyer to draft an assignment agreement documenting the transfer of ownership from the creator to you is advisable. This step secures your legal rights to the logo and ensures a strong foundation for your brand’s intellectual property protection.

If you’re uncertain about the ownership of your brand’s logo, consider taking our Quiz or signing up for a complimentary 15-minute free consult with Brandsmith & Co. Our team can guide you through the necessary steps to ensure copyright ownership and protection of your brand’s assets. Get in touch with us today to secure your brand’s intellectual property rights.

more insights