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Category: Intellectual Property Law
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re IP law US/International - Is it legal to use a depiction

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re IP law US/International - Is it legal to use a depiction (drawing, or photo, etc) of a public monument such as the Statue of Liberty or the Eiffel Tower in a company logo and/or advertising material? I've heard "public domain" laws apply to make such use legal, but not sure. What is your opinion? And is there specific law or US Code that you can point me to that applies to such a case as this?
Under U.S. law, all creative works owned by the federal government are public domain. However, 18 U.S.C. 712 prohibits the use of "...any emblem, insignia, or name, for the purpose of conveying and in a manner reasonably calculated to convey the false impression that such communication is from a department, agency, bureau, or instrumentality of the United States or in any manner represents the United States...."

So, there is a risk, depending upon your actual intent and use.

In France, the law recognizes something called the "moral" rights of a creative artist. Consequently, because the Statue of Liberty was created by a French sculptor, and the Eiffel Tower was similarly designed by a French architect, you could have a problem with your proposed use, if you are marketing your products in French territory.

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you. I will send a follow up.

In the USA, you would have no issues for either use, as long as there is no competitor who is already using a logo for the same purposes.

You will have to search the USPTO database to determine if there is a similar use.

Go to this link. Select the Word and/or Design Mark Search (Structured) search link. Type in "Statue of Liberty" (including the quotation marks) in the Search Term box, and select Design Description from the Field box. Then click Submit Query. The list returned will be every U.S. Trademark containing a Statue of Liberty image. If none of the images appear to be in a use similar to your "widget" use, then you're in good shape.

You would do the same thing for the "Eiffel Tower" search.

Hope this helps.
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