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I have recently had a logo designed for my company only to realise after rebranding my vehicle and website is shares certain similarities with another well-known logo. Could somebody with a better understanding of what is legal and what not be able to help me out?

Our logo

Our Logo

The well-known logo

rhs Logo

marked as duplicate by Zach Saucier, Westside, joojaa, Vincent Jun 2 '17 at 9:16

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    Just some clarification, since you seem to be mixing several different things here. Plagiarism is a an ethical/moral issue, not a legal one. It means "passing off someone else's creative works as your own". The only way this could be plagiarism is if you claimed that you designed the logo yourself. But you clearly stated that you had someone else design the logo for you, so it's not plagiarism. Copyright infringement is also not relevant here: only the designer who designed the logo could potentially infringe on the copyright of the designer who designed the other logo. So, that leaves … – Jörg W Mittag Nov 16 '16 at 16:28
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    trademark infringement. This requires first and foremost that the RHS has even registered their logo as a trademark. And that they use it commercially. And that the fact that you use it commercially somehow impedes their commercial use of it. As a first approximation: you can only violate a trademark of someone who a) is a competitor and b) has registered the trademark. (Trademark law is much more complex than that, though, when in doubt hire a lawyer.) – Jörg W Mittag Nov 16 '16 at 16:30
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    Not a lawyer here but run a Google image search for "landscaping company logo" and it might put you more at ease. – MonkeyZeus Nov 16 '16 at 21:52
  • Just picky - plagiarism is also a legal issue quite often. It is just totally different than the other issues - and the issues at hand here. – TomTom Nov 17 '16 at 14:41
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No, not at all.

It doesn't have nearly enough similarities to count as plagiarism. Yes, they both feature a tree. As do many, many logos. The style is different, the use of colors, the whole setup is different.

However, if the other company is widely known in your field and you are afraid your clients might confuse you with each other, you could consider changing. I personally doubt this will be the case though.

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    Agreed. Nowhere near close enough to constitute plagiarism or copyright infringement. I'm not a lawyer, but I'd bet my mortgage that this is fine. Sleep soundly. – Westside Nov 16 '16 at 14:42
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    To be picky, trademark infringement would be the apt term here, not copyright infringement. They have different definitions. That said, I still agree with this answer. – Tristan Nov 16 '16 at 15:49
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    As do many, many logos, yes from this cursory search you share this logo style with countless other companies: logos with tree – DasBeasto Nov 16 '16 at 18:55
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There is not nearly enough similarity between both logos. Also by definition you are not plagiarizing, since you are not trying to use someone else's work as if it yours. I don't think there is anything unlawful here.

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There is no legal threshold that you can go over to be "safe" as the law is interpreted by the judge. In this case I do not see any problems. The greens are different the style is different and even the trees are different. Not to mention the services are different.

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There is a difference between "plagiarism" and "copyright infringement". Plagiarism means pretending that you created something when you didn't. If your graphics designer claims he created your logo, and in reality he paid some art student to create it, that would be plagiarism. Which would be legally totally fine. (Or you claiming that you created the logo and not your graphics designer; your designer might be unhappy about it but none of RHS's business. )

What you would need to worry about is copyright infringement or trademark infringement. Trademark infringement would happen if people look at your vehicle for example and think "look, there's an RHS vehicle". With "Goodwin Garden Services" on your van that's unlikely.

The other is copyright infringement; if RHS claimed that your graphics designer copied their logo. The colors are similar but not the same, and using green colours for a gardening business seems natural. Your leaves are one shape, the RHS leaves are all different shapes and not the one of your logo. RHS has apples in their logo. The stem is very different, and yours uses the I of GoodwIn for the stem. The one similarity is the leaves being sparse on a white background. All in all I wouldn't worry too much.

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Just to add, No it doesn't. Think of it this way You have some letters in your logo, doesn't mean you can file lawsuit against others too on a copyright charge.

If your tree looked the same, had the same apples on it as the horticultural one then someone might have a case. However I'm not sure how far "he copied my tree" would stand up in court

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The key question should be 'will the target audience be likely to confuse one company for the other as a function of the trade mark'. In this case the logo.

Not legal advice but as a long time entrepreneur (60+ years) I don't see that as a likely outcome.

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