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Know-How Exchange

Topic: Advertising/PR

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This question has been answered, and points have been awarded.

Use Of Company Logos

Posted by Anonymous on 125 Points
We are a small nonprofit that runs a small neighborhood computer repair shop, and on our new business cards we want to include the IBM and Apple logos, to easily convey to our customers that we service these brands. Is this ok to do? Do we need to seek special permission?

The reason I ask is that if you look through the phone book, you see ads for all types of repair companies -- computers, televisions, washer/dryers, appliances, automotive, etc. -- and most use logos for the products that they service. Do all of those advertisers seek permission to use the logos? If we cannot use the logo, is it ok to name the companies whose products we service, but use a font different from the one they use in the logo? Does it matter that we are a nonprofit fully recognized by the IRS?

  • Posted by Pepper Blue on Accepted
    Hi patrick,

    My experience is that they all have different policies regarding the use of their logo, but the one thing that they are insistent about is that if you do use it, you use it the right way - specific fonts, colors, sizes - they get real sticky about doing it on your own.

    Many have their policies on their websites, or contact their PR or legal department.

    Non-profit doesn't matter, you are using their intellectual property and they strongly defend it and how, where, why, when and by whom it is used.

    Better safe than sorry - check with the companies themselves.

    I hope that helps!

  • Posted by JBtron on Accepted
    Patrick,

    Pep has given a proper answer. The real answer is that use of company logos usually rests with the originator of the mark. MANY companies, including those you mention, have guidelines on their use available on their sites.

    The REALITY of your particular situation is that you don't have to get their permission, as long as you are not misrepresenting their product or YOUR INVOLVEMENT with their product. After all, I don't think the Yellow Pages is out of the picture when it comes to their publishing reproduced ads IN THEIR OWN PUBLICATION.

    You are not trying to BE these companies, just alerting customers that you can service these products. BUT, I would recommend that you become an AUTHORIZED REPAIR VENDOR for these companies, which may involve some licensing agreements. Check their sites for the guidelines.

    Hope this helps.

    Best,

    ::JBtron
  • Posted by LilacMoon on Accepted
    Another reason to contact the various companies about using their logos is that some companies may have a system in place where they’ll pay for part of your advertising when you use their name/logo.

    This used to be the case a number of years ago, when I worked as a radio copywriter. I can’t remember what it was called – possibly “co-op advertising”, but it may have been something else.

    I have no idea if any companies still do this, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

    Donna
  • Posted by Deremiah *CPE on Accepted
    Patrick,

    everyone has given you the most excellent advice. Follow it and you want go wrong.

    When it is our desire to do right by others it is always best to communicate with them to be clear about our intent. As a principal rule W. Clement Stone said in the book "The Success System that Never Fails", "if you don't understand something ask the man that knows". In this case it is your desire to do right by the company whose logo you would like to use... so in order to avoid any legal issues ask IBM. They are the man that knows. Hope this helps. Is there anything else I can do for you?

    Your Servant, Deremiah, *CPE
  • Posted by jose04 on Accepted
    Patrick

    Logos are graphical expressions created by a service provider after much thought, research and payments. THerefore, it's only right that we respect their effort and contact them for permission to use their logo.

    The very fact that you have asked this question, show that your intention is not to misuse the logos. The suggestions and ideas given by the learned forum members seem reasonable, therefore go for the license and get to use the logo/s. That’s safe and right.

    Sometimes (to do this) it may not cost you anything. It may even get you returns (like the co-op advsg.).

    All the best!!!

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