Look Before You Use that Logo
Ask First, Use Later
I recently visited the newly designed business website of a friend and colleague. It was beautifully done, visually appealing and had all the right calls to action to invite visitors to engage. I noted all of the impressive clients whose logos were featured prominently across the page. I wondered if she had secured permission from her customers to use their logos.
I have reviewed thousands of contracts with some of the world’s largest companies and almost all of them have a clause with language similar to the following:
“Supplier shall not use Company’s name, trademarks, services marks, logos, any description that would reveal Company’s identity or other forms of identification, whether registered or not (“Company Identification”), in any way, including, but not limited to, any advertisements, press releases, announcements, customer lists (including customer lists on any website) or materials of a public or promotional nature or in soliciting other clients. Further, Company shall not make any direct or indirect public reference to this Agreement or any other contract between Supplier and Company without first obtaining Company’s written permission which may be withheld in Company’s sole discretion. In addition, Supplier agrees that it shall not negatively reference or disparage Company.”
Companies invest significant time and resources into building and maintaining their brands and will take extraordinary steps to ensure they are protected. Here is an example of Impossible’s (of The Impossible Burger) statement of restriction on use of their trademark:
“Impossible is a trademark of Impossible Foods Inc. (“Impossible Foods”).
We love the passion and enthusiasm for Impossible Foods and our products, but we must be mindful of our brand identity, our reputation, and the goodwill developed under our trademarks, logos and other assets. That means we must ensure these assets are used only with our permission. For example, only Impossible Foods (and its affiliated companies) and its authorized licensees may use the Impossible logo in advertising, promotional and sales materials. Licensees may use Impossible Foods assets only as specified in their agreement with Impossible Foods or pursuant to applicable guidelines. If you have any questions, or if you see our trademarks being misused, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
If you are considering the use of a customer’s logo in a client list or in your marketing materials, we recommend that you first review your agreements to see if there is a prohibition against use. If not, we recommend that you first seek written permission.
Call us today regarding your logo or your agreements. (248) 229-0185
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