How close can a design be to a logo before it is considered copyright or trademark infrigement?

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How close can a design be to a logo before it is considered copyright or trademark infrigement?

A friend and I have recently had a business idea involving modifying
the logo of the Hydro Flask company and marketing it as a sticker. We
have made considerable adjustments to the figure and placed it
performing different actions i.e. sports such as pole vaulting and
swimming. We are wondering if it could be considered too close to be
trademark or copyright infringement and have had difficulty finding a
straight answer

Asked on February 11, 2019 under Business Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

If it's recognizable as having been based on or derived from the trademarked logo, then you can't do this--you'd be violating trademark law and could be sued. Trademark is designed to protect the "source" of a service or product--so make sure that the customers know where it's coming from and who is behind it. Therefore, if a mark or graphic you come up with is close enough to a trademark that someone would say (for example), "Hey, isn't that the Hydro Flask mark" or wonder "are they licensed by or affiliated with Hydro Flask," you are infringing.


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