PayPal sues Pandora

PayPal Sues Pandora: Rip Off Logo Design Stories

Imagine if someone took your face and roamed around freely. Wouldn’t you do something about it?

Bet you’ve heard the news, Paypal sues Pandora for ripping off their logo design. Last October, the music streaming company redesigned their logo and since then it has cost the former much trouble. Not only is the design too similar, it confused their customers and created a hype. Such is the power of a logo design! This is not the first time a company filed a lawsuit against another for a logo. There have been many other logo rip off stories you may or may not be aware of. Let’s take a look at them.

The Case Of The Stolen Eye

Did you see the Snapchat’s spectacles? It was amusing to find the one-eyed vending machine pop up in cities. Not once did anyone think there was some fishy unless the parent company Snap Inc. was sued by Eyebobs. The brand, selling reading glasses since 2001, claimed trademark infringement in a lawsuit against the use of its eye icon in Snapchat’s spectacles vending machine promotion. In the preliminary injunction, the federal district court of Minnesota (where the case was registered) found no threat to Eyebobs LLC despite the proof of their trademark of the eyeball design. Plus, Snap said it was unaware of the fact an eye was a common law mark.

Rip off logos: Snapchat and Eyebobs LLC

It Is Just An Apple

Not in this case. In 2008, The Victoria School of Business and Technology was sued because they used an apple in their logo. Apparently, Apple. Inc considers itself to be the only one to use this fruit. In a response to the letter sent by lawyer Stephanie Vaccari who represented the tech company, the school president highlighted an important question “Are you suggesting that anyone using any variation of an apple for technology education is infringing on Apple’s trademark?” An apple has been a symbol of health, and later education when singer Bing Crosby released the song ‘An Apple for the Teacher’. Although it was a silly case that lasted three years, the school had to give in. It changed its name to Q College and designed a new logo.

Rip off logos: VSBT and Apple

Tell No One It Didn’t Happened

In 2010, Clearwire Corporation announced its plan to enter the mobile phone market. Nothing wrong with that except for their logo. Sony Ericsson filed a case against the internet company and demanded over $100,000 as a legal fees for having a logo design similar to theirs. Nevertheless, the lawsuit was dropped when Clearwire established they’re not going to manufacture or launch smartphones anytime soon. Today the wireless operator’s logo is much different than a green swirl in a sphere.

Rip off logos: Sony Ericsson and Clearwire corp

The Value Of The Written Word

She didn’t know it was coming, after all it was only a typeface right? In January 2017, graphic designer Moshik Nadav filed a $5 million lawsuit against the world renowned singer Cher for copying his Paris and Paris Pro logo typography for her name on one of her album covers without permission. Nadav claimed the swashes of letters are similar to his typeface design and that people associate him with such “artistic elements”. During the court proceedings, Cher’s lawyers proved the case to be baseless especially when the two logos only shared one letter and that the copyright law in the U.S. does not protect fonts. Thus, the New York federal judge dismissed the case.

Rip off logos: Cher and Paris

Is He The Culprit Or The Innocent?

Starbucks filed a £6,000 lawsuit against Starbung, a local coffee stall brand in Bangkok. In addition to this, the company demanded an annual interest and monthly installment until the insignia is changed or removed. The owner Damrong Maslae testified that the logo represents a religious symbol and color. He asked a designer friend for help with the logo and denied the allegations of trademark violations. While at the time Maslae was determined to fight till the end, he lost and changed the name to ‘StyleBung’ with modifications to the logo. Later, even the plaintiff redesigned its logo.

Rip off logos: Starbucks and Starbung

Coming Back To PayPal And Pandora

The e-transaction company sued the music company for a “P” (not a pee) after the customers were confusing one logo for the other. Some even thought of a takeover or merger. Before taking Pandora to court, PayPal tried to work things out without legal intrusion. When that didn’t work, a lawsuit was filed in Manhattan with evidences of social media posts hinting that PayPal’s unique brand image is at stake and it may lose its clients. The case is that Pandora must stop using the new sans serif logo, pay for the damages it caused PayPal, and never to do anything that suggests the two companies are related in any way.

Rip off logos: PayPal and Pandora

After all this, one thing is for sure – we must clearly define the word “copy” in the world of branding and design. I mean it is ridiculous that Apple Inc. sued two or more companies who used an apple in their logo. How can you refrain people from using a mundane item? While some lawsuits make sense others just seem ridiculous. For this you need to know about copyrights, trademarks, and derivative designs. I’ve heard startups and small businesses question the importance of a logo. Surely by now you know it is critical that you make a custom logo design.

Do you know of more logo rip off stories? Share them with us.

A visual design blogger passionate about interactive, experiential and captivating techniques designers, marketers and brands use to accentuate messages, tell stories, and spread awareness. I’m a visual addict like Alice, who finds books (or anything) without pictures boring! My writings focus on graphic and web design, branding, and visual marketing. My hobbies are to write poems, draw zentangles, read, and watch YouTube videos.

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