If I was to create a design inspired by famous superhero logos for my apparel company, would it infringe on copyright?

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If I was to create a design inspired by famous superhero logos for my apparel company, would it infringe on copyright?

The designs are superhero themed for a fitness apparel company. they use elements of superhero logos but have our own logo as the main focus. Example: The superman logo. Our logo has replaced the iconic “S” in the middle of the geometric shape. Extra original elements have been added as well. The colors are the same or similar. If allowed I could send a screenshot of an example.

Asked on May 12, 2015 under Business Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

What you describe may well be copyright or trademark infringement. For example, copyright law gives the copyright owner the right to control "derivative" works, or works based on or adapted from the copyrighted work. If the logo you create is recognizable as having been derived from the original, it therefore may represent copyright infringement. The best way to proceed is to take samples of what you propose to an intellectual property attorney, who can review them in detail, evaluate whether they infringe, and possibly propose changes to avoid infringement.


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