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If I do some designs for a customer of mine and they want a logo or a product in their design but belongs to a well known company, not their own, could I be liable since I made the design or am I ok just being a free lance artist Doing work for customers
 

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probably you can be shut down and your inventory and equipment confiscated and destroyed for counterfeiting and you go to the pokey.

if that doesn't happen then a lawsuit is the next best thing.

I wouldn't touch something like this.
 

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Yes you can and depending on the brand/logo in question it is even likely. Any use without permission of a protected mark by anyone is not legal and as a professional designer it can be argued that even if your client supplied artwork that you should have known better so to speak. Even if your client has "permission" it is up to you to verify the permission is valid and for the use you are designing. In short WAY better to leave it alone.
 

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What if it is not a well known company logo. I understand it is held to the same standards, but how do people protect themselves from customer supplied designs that they may say is theirs, but is not?
 

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Think about it this way: Companies will often ignore pure parody, but if you are trying to claim parody on something that will take a court date and trial to accomplish, even if you win, your entire life becomes the lawsuit until it is over. Can you afford to do that? Even if you are awarded all fees, you don't get paid for your time spent. Will your business run itself? Can you pay the court fees and the lawyer if he isn't working "you pay nothing until we win?" (which is often a half-truth anyway)?
 

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I'll add that if they tell you that they do have permission, if you want to move forward with the job, have them sign a paper that stipulates that they do indeed have the right to use it and that they alone do and specifying that you are released from any liability.
It may be that this company is a sponsor for their event. In addition, if this is the case, they should certainly be able to get printed limited use paperwork allowing it's use for this one event.

Otherwise, NO NO NO Not worth the risk !
 
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