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A designer drew a logo for me. It is an artistic representation of a lamp screen with recognizable traits, together with text. The original lamp was created more than 100 years ago, in the early 1900s. The specific lamp used as model for this artistic representation is a newer one made by someone else, but it maintains the main traits of the original.

Originally, the design was patented, but the patent expired long ago. Many manufacturers have mass produced their versions of this lamp later, and variants are for sale everywhere. Still, I am wondering if there may be copyright at play here: The original creator died less than 70 years ago.

Can using this logo create any problems for me? Can laws vary from country to country, making this problematic only in some countries?

(I want to use a nickname that is associated with this type of lamp together with the logo. The name is not trademarked in any domain. Also, I should note that my product has nothing to do with lamps.)

  • Sounds like a cool idea. Out of curiosity, what is the lamp's name? Which manufacturers used it? It would be interesting to see how it changed across the history along with the names and nicknames. – KingsInnerSoul Apr 9 '18 at 2:53
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The work fell out of copyright and into the public domain. Once that happens, the copyright does not arise again from the public domain work, even if the copyright law changes.

Of course, the logo designer would have a copyright over the interpretation of the design to the extent that the work for hire doctrine didn't apply or the copyright wasn't assigned from the logo designer.

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