Do I sue a business or business owner for illegal use of logo?

This summer I entered into a business with a long time. My name did not go on

the business licenses. However I have text and email that I am assumed

attorney-in-fact. I was given bank and credit card information for the business

to procure vendors and place orders. I also designed the logo and for the

overseas manufacturer to produce our hair product with the logo that I

designed. After 9 weeks of getting the company up and running, I received an

email from my proposed partner that my services were no longer needed. I agreed originally that I would work for a nominal fee until the business was up and running. I was given partial payment but when it was time for the final payment to be sent, no payment was ever made. Also, the only reason that I agreed to use of my logo design was that I promised future endeavors with this company. I was told I was a partner, which is why I helped in the first place. The business continues to use my logo and branding without payment of my intellectual property. Do I have a case against the business? It is an LLC with one owner. I am trying to keep it short and just give a synapses of what happened, I can provide further detailed information.

Asked on August 28, 2016 under Business Law, West Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, unless you had a written contract giving you rights to the logo, if you created it while working for the business, it was created as "work made for hire"--that is, as something done by an employee in the course of his or her employment. Any logos (or other creative works) created by an employee for his/her employer in the course of employment belong to the employer. So the employer owns the rights to the logo and has the right to use it as they see fit. You do not have a case to sue them.
(If you did have a case, you would sue the LLC, not the LLC's owner, who is called a "member" in the law.)


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