Santa Cruz SBDCAptos, CA

False Assumptions of Logo Copyright Are a Common SME Mistake

Many business owners think that they own a copyright to their logo but actually only have a non-exclusive license to use of their logo image.  A contractor providing creative work, such as a graphic designer, is not required by law to assign copyright to a contracting party unless a written agreement stating this obligation is executed before the contracted work is initiated. This deficiency can easily be repaired if the contractor is amenable by executing a separate written assignment agreement. Be aware that verbal commitments to transfer copyright ownership are extremely hard to enforce if the non-employee creator of the work fails to actually execute a written assignment.


Patrick Reilly, Esq.  is an intellectual property ("IP") consultant with the TECH FUTURES GROUP, the founder of Intellectual Property Society,  and a practicing IP attorney.  His law practice encompasses patent prosecution, creative rights management, IP issues of start-up formation, trademark prosecution and assertion, copyright protection and assertion, and trade secret policy.  Patrick has a special commitment to encourage civic engagement with the evolution of intellectual property law, personal data rights and Internet identity. 
He is a graduate of the Defense Language Institute in Russian Language Studies and has earned a BS in Sociology from the State University of New York, a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Toledo and a JD from Concord Law School. Patrick is a member of the U.S. Patent Bar and the California State Bar.


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Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA or HSU Sponsored Programs Foundation.