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

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 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.)

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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