By Alicia Mayer
A couple of months ago I had a client who emailed me a logo that looked eerily, dangerously liked theirs. My heart stopped for a second. I asked if they knew anything about the other company and it turned out it’s a foreign multinational in an entirely different industry without Australian operations.
Under these circumstances trade mark infringement is highly unlikely. So my next thought turned to my client’s graphic designer and the shadowy space between inspiration and imitation. The two logos were so alike that it seemed either a miraculous coincidence or the graphic designer saw the logo in his travels and grabbed a few key elements when designing the other trade mark. Unless someone sits him down under a stark light bulb and asks him to fess up we’ll probably never know if he juggled the risks and decided they were worth it.
As you scroll through the logo sets in this article, 11 Famous Logos that Look Eerily Familiar, you’ll be amazed at their similarities – actually, in some cases they seem basically identical, but there is the critical distance of time (some are no longer in use) and from utterly different industries (different goods and services, in trade mark parlance). Of course, the Gucci and Chanel trade marks do share some visual similarities, and both represent haute couture, but there isn’t a single denizen of Beverly Hills who couldn’t tell the difference at a 1,000 paces.
But what you’ll find most interesting, at least I did, is the type of evidence PayPal has supplied to show that the average Joe out there is confused by the similarities in the PayPal and Pandora logos. You may have heard that those two behemoths are duking it out in court right now. It will be very interesting to see who wins that trade mark fight.