I would like to create a similar icon to one used in another software (e.g. the "Share" icon on iOS, or the "Crop" tool in Photoshop).

My icons are not going to be pixel-wise identical to the reference icons, but they may appear very similar to users.

Is it legal to do so?

Please note that there is no intention to copy the general look of another software, and there is even no intention make the entire icon set in my software similar to a reference software.

  • is there a reason you do not want to use CC licenced or public domain icons that already exist? – Chad Aug 31 '15 at 20:27
  • My opinion on your two examples is that the iOS share icon is different from most competitors but the crop icon is fairly ubiquitous. If you use a very unique icon that's when you get into danger. – jqning Sep 1 '15 at 0:41
  • @Chad, Yes, want to keep my own unique and consistent look across the app. – Ben-Uri Sep 1 '15 at 7:09
  • And you thing the way to do that is to steal someone else's look and change it just slightly? I do not think Unique means what you think it means – Chad Sep 1 '15 at 12:50
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    To weigh in further. If all you are taking is the "idea" it is almost certainly NOT copyright violation. The term "idea" and the term "metaphor" seem like they are probably synonyms in this case. – HarveyBirdMan Sep 1 '15 at 18:19

If the similarity could create confusion as to whether the original product has endorsed the new product, there may be trademark infringement.

If the similarity suggests that the new product is "derivative" of the older product, this may suggest copyright infringement.

Without knowing the setting, the level of originality and the general complexity of the icons it is not possible to know. But generally, those are the two areas of law that the creation of new icons would be rubbing up against.

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