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Copyrighting a crest

 
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seafarer
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 4:03 pm    Post subject: Copyrighting a crest Reply with quote

Hello we are new to this site, but we do have a question which has turned into a contentious issue. In 2002 we formed an association, our memberships father-in-law designed our crest which was used on posters letterheads etc. In 2007 we had our crest painted and copyrighted at the Collage of Arms, however this does not seem to hold much weight with a similar organisation who Text worded our Association with the patents office.

We have been informed by an official from the patents office that we are not Passing Off, we are also registered at companies house but again this does not hold any weight at all.

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Nick
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is not so much a copyright issue then as an armorial one. When the Her Majesty's College of Arms grants arms, they will write (on behalf of her Majesty) a letter patent beginning "To all and singular...". The design of the arms and scutcheon is protect by this patent (the letter patent, not from HM Patent and Trademark office). The original image drawn for you by the herald is copyrighted, but anyone is entitled to read the description of your arms and draw their own (hence addressing the patent to everyone: arms are by their very nature meant to be public). To then use those arms is a civil offence punishable under law, but not copyright law.

What exactly do "Text worded" and "Passing Off" mean?

If the problem is purely one of someone else using your arms, then it is probably best to deal with it yourself with the offending party: the last case of this sort heard by the court was Manchester Corporation v. Manchester Palace of Varieties (1954).
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seafarer
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Nick

Thanks for the info, our association tried to patent the crest we had designed for us, we lodged our crest with the patents office who supposedly did a search (well we were charged heavily for their services) one month after our submission this other group submitted an application to text the wording of the association. This group obtained the trade mark which gives them the outright use of the name and the initials which are in our crest. From the patent office when we lodged an appeal, we were told names can be registered even though its registered at companies house.

We were informed by the official who dealt with the case that as are associations co exists with the same aims and objectives we were not passing off. Passing off means that at no time have we tried to impersonate this other group.

But as to the crest which we obtained from the collage of arms at great expense to our members, are fear is that this other group which has the Trade Mark will use our crest and our members have already been told to remove our blazer badge and lapel pins.

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Nick
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the College of Arms approved the arms, then you should vigourously defend your right to use them. Mottos (any text on the arms) are not protected by the heraldic laws, and do need trademark protection, but the arms are now yours, and only yours, forever. I am sure the heralds will be glad to advise you, but you can prevent others from using the arms you registered.

The arms and the motto on them are separate; it sounds like you got the arms first but they got the motto and initials first. You might have to give up the motto (but not your company name) but you can prevent them using your arms.
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