Copyright Assignment for Artwork / Logos

A trademark often consists of a logo, think NIKE stripe ®, PUMA cat ®, MERCEDES star ®. This image can be instantly recognisable and evoke immediate thoughts and feelings linked to the brand. This Logo is not only a trademark but also has copyright.

Designers and Copyright

Generally speaking, if you have an employee draw up your Logo, you as the employer, own the copyright. However, as often happens, if you engage your local graphic designer to draw up your new Logo or graphics, the designer owns the copyright in your new Logo.

You have an implied licence to use the Logo for the purpose you engaged your designer to create your Logo. To transfer the copyright to you, a written assignment, which identifies the Logo, must be executed by your designer.

What are the benefits?

The main benefit of having the copyright in your Logo assigned to you and thereby, you owning both the trademark and copyright, is that if someone infringed your Logo, you could take legal action for both, trademark and copyright infringement. This may be beneficial if someone copies and adopts your same Logo, who is in a different industry. That is, your trademark rights are limited to your goods and/or services or in some instances, similar goods and services to which your trademark is registered.

Also, of course, the graphic designer can then not provide the Logo to someone else, who perhaps, is in a different industry (which of course, is very unlikely anyway).

We advise you to seek legal advice from a professional trademark lawyer for the legalities of trademarking your Logo. Kerry Newcomb assisted with this article. 

Kerry Newcomb
Trade Mark Attorney
PO Box 254, Spring Hill, Brisbane QLD 4004
p: 07 3369 4020
f: 07 3367 8351
m: 0402 971 662