So your brand’s been copied?

how not to approach brand theft.

You’ve spent a lot of time and money developing and nurturing your companies brand identity, it’s something that you’re really proud of and something that you are very protective over. Brands carry reputations and perceptions of companies so it is definitely something that you need to look after. 

So, what do you do when you feel someone has copied your brand, and in doing so is harming yours?

There are a few ways you can go about solving the issue when it arises, some of which are far better than others, and in this article I will give an example of a brilliant way of dealing with it, and one not so brilliant way.

Let’s start with the not so brilliant method and it comes from the richest company in the world. Apple.

Apple Logo

We all know and love the Apple brand. It’s so clean and minimal and just utterly gorgeous in so many ways. It’s taken decades of evolution to become the essence of contemporary branding.

Everything about the brand is so precise and almost perfect. So you might be thinking it would be a great brand to copy…were it not for the fact that just about every person on the planet recognizes this brand then yeah, maybe. I do not condone plagiarism in any form but I think Apple may just be going a bit far now with ‘protecting their brand’.

Fresh 24 Logo Design

The above logo design is from an online Polish grocery store ‘Fresh 24′. Apple are not happy with the logo they have chosen to use for their company and claim that it is too close to their own logo and is harming their brand image.

In all honesty I think the only thing harming Apple’s image is their own actions. Their attitude towards these small companies, who have no impact on Apple at all, is borderline bullying.

There is no way on Earth that this small Polish retailer is in anyway harming Apple’s brand. Were it not for them bringing this to the worlds attention by suing them then no one would ever even bat an eyelid at this logo ‘being similar’ to Apple’s.

Yes there are some similarities but lets look at this logically. What we have here is a circle and a leaf. I fail to see how Apple can sue over this. Maybe a 14 year old dog with really bad cataracts could mistake this for the Apple logo, but that’s about it. There are just too many differences for this to be even considered plagiarism and Apple are the ones harming their brand image here NOT Fresh24….well in my opinion anyway.

If Apple were really concerned that their brand was being harmed by this ‘plagiarism’ then maybe they should take a leaf out of Jack Daniels’ book.

an example of what you should do.

When Patrick Wensink published his book ‘Broken Piano For President’ he received a cease and desist order, within a week, from Jack Daniels claiming that the cover of his book was too similar to their own brand.

Jack Daniel's Brand Copied

I don’t think that anyone can deny that there is more than a bit of a similarity here. It’s obvious that the cover for the book has taken it’s ‘inspiration’ from the Jack Daniels label.

Obviously there are grounds here for Jack Daniels to take action here, and I don’t think anyone would argue that they’re within their rights to do so. And that’s exactly what they did.

However, they did it in a fantastic way. Yes, they did ask that Mr. Wensink stop using the cover but they did it in such a polite and pleasant way that this had nothing but a positive effect on people’s perception of the Tennessee based whisky company.

Jack Daniel's Letter

I’m sure you will agree that when it comes to protecting your brand there are both good and bad ways of going about it. There are also times when you SHOULD pursue legal action and times when that in itself will be more detrimental to your brand.

So if you do ever come across something that resembles your brand, or your work, then just think twice about what is really the best course of action to take.

About the author

Mark is a logo design and brand identity specialist, and founder of Foundation Design Agency. He has worked for many years as a freelance logo designer operating He has a passion for all aspects of brand identity design as well as being a keen NFL fan and occasional songwriter.

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