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  1. #1
    GRAPHIC DESIGNER visualkreations's Avatar
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    Are you legally allowed to use this in your portfolio?

    say for fun you do a design for NIKE (it is not an actual project for NIKE, its just something you did for fun)

    can you add it to your portfolio as long as you state that this was not an actual design for NIKE?

  2. #2
    SitePoint Zealot Norebbo's Avatar
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    You should be explicitly clear that it was a conceptual project, preferably in a separate section of the portfolio.

    But to be honest, I look at a lot of designer portfolios for my job, and I don't really care to see stuff like this. I only want to see real projects. But like I said...you could have a "conceptual" or "experimental" section to include stuff like this.

  3. #3
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    As Norebbo stated, your best bet is to list any such design as conceptual work. If you have used any logos or copyrighted materials or concepts, you may wish to consult a local legal professional - they should be able to advise you as to what your legal standing is in that regard.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy
    beley's Avatar
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    I don't think you can add that to your portfolio without express written consent from Nike. You are using their trademarks without permission. Had they been an actual client, you would've likely gotten permission to use the designs in your portfolio.

    Whether you put a disclaimer or not, you are trying to profit from a use of Nike's trademark. I think it's a very thin line, and I'm pretty sure Nike has a lot more money than you.

    The only exception I could think of might be a school portfolio, which was clearly labeled as such. I've seen several of those include works that have trademarks included.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Zealot Norebbo's Avatar
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    I'm not really sure it would require authorization from Nike.

    This is, after all, a private portfolio. Right? I am not a legal expert (far from it, actually) but it seems to me you'd be okay to have it on your personal site as long as you aren't trying to sell anything.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy
    beley's Avatar
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    The whole point of having a portfolio is to persuade potential clients to work with you. The fact that he is not actually selling something on his website does not change the fact that he would be using someone else's trademark to try to sell his services. Having the Nike mark on his site makes him look more legitimate, more credible.

    I'm no lawyer, but I'd be cautious in the use of major brands' logos. Most brands outline logo usage guidelines somewhere, and all the ones I've read explicitly deny usage without written permission. The only way you'd get around that is fair use, which is a defense, not a right. That means that they could still sue you, you'd just be able to use fair use as a defense, and might possibly win the suit.

    Again, do what you want... I'm no lawyer and am not giving you legal advice. I'd highly recommend getting some though before using a brand like Nike on your website.

  7. #7
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beley View Post
    The whole point of having a portfolio is to persuade potential clients to work with you. The fact that he is not actually selling something on his website does not change the fact that he would be using someone else's trademark to try to sell his services. Having the Nike mark on his site makes him look more legitimate, more credible.

    I'm no lawyer, but I'd be cautious in the use of major brands' logos. Most brands outline logo usage guidelines somewhere, and all the ones I've read explicitly deny usage without written permission. The only way you'd get around that is fair use, which is a defense, not a right. That means that they could still sue you, you'd just be able to use fair use as a defense, and might possibly win the suit.

    Again, do what you want... I'm no lawyer and am not giving you legal advice. I'd highly recommend getting some though before using a brand like Nike on your website.
    Fair use is a part of copyright law. I don't know if it's a part of trade mark or patent law.

    Using a trademark without permission is illegal and subject to both criminal and civil penalties. Even big-buck movie companies (Universal, 20th Century Fox, Disney) take special care not to use trademarks without permission. Do you think they have a reason?
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy
    beley's Avatar
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    Thanks for the clarification on Fair Use Linda...

    I'm not sure if this will help, but I found it while Googling:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use_(US_trademark_law)

    I sure wouldn't do it without consulting a lawyer, but that's just me.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Evangelist altyfc's Avatar
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    To be absolutely sure of no ramifications, I think it would be prudent to contact Nike (or whoever) to see if they have any objection. My suspision is that they would.

  10. #10
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beley View Post
    Thanks for the clarification on Fair Use Linda...

    I'm not sure if this will help, but I found it while Googling:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use_(US_trademark_law)

    I sure wouldn't do it without consulting a lawyer, but that's just me.
    Unfortunately it's not much help since the page reads "Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. Please search for Fair use (US trademark law in Wikipedia to check for alternative titles or spellings." and when you search there is nothing likewise.
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  11. #11
    SitePoint Guru Ruben K.'s Avatar
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    Consistent with the limited nature of trademark protection and the free speech guarantees of the First Amendment, U.S. law provides for a fair use defense to trademark infringement comparable to that under copyright law. The two main categories of protected usage are nominative—using the trademark to actually refer to the trademarked product or trademark owner; and usage of the mark in its common sense, such as a descriptive word or common and unoriginal symbol. For example, Pepsi advertisements may use Coca Cola's trademark when making comparisons to Pepsi products. These uses are still subject to the requirement that there be no consumer confusion as to source or sponsorship. Trademarks may also be lawfully used in parodies, since in that case there is usually no likelihood of confusion.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_..._trademark_law



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