I was reading Can a company trademark a public domain name like "Arkham"? not sure if this is the same.

I'm working as volunteer at OpenClipart.org, site that provide Public Domain vector images (it use Creative Commons Zero license).

I was asked multiple times if someone can use our clipart as logo. I always answer that he should modify the clipart because someone else may use the same clipart for his logo. But what about trademarks? Can Public Domain image be used as is for a logo? Or should it be derived artwork?

What should I answer to person that ask about using PD (CC0) clipart as logo or if he can trademark it?

  • CC0 art. 4A: No trademark or patent rights held by Affirmer are waived, abandoned, surrendered, licensed or otherwise affected by this document. So it is possible that the clipart is already trademarked by the creator...
    – wimh
    Oct 10, 2019 at 23:23

1 Answer 1


What should I answer to person that ask about using PD (CC0) clipart as logo or if he can trademark it?

“Consult your trademark lawyer.” You can also direct them to the trademark registrar in your country.

Unless you are their trademark lawyer, but, if so, why would you be asking us?

From your organization’s position, you release it under CC0 meaning anyone can use it without fear of being sued by you - what their legal rights are beyond that is not for you to say.

Giving legal advice if you aren’t a lawyer is illegal.

  • “Consult your trademark lawyer” I hoped that I get some info from someone that know trademark (maybe trademark lawyer or something). is this need to be per clipart and individual case consultation? Or can it be general advice?
    – jcubic
    Oct 11, 2019 at 7:06
  • @jcubic the issue is, unless you are a lawyer in the relevant jurisdiction, giving legal advice is usually illegal
    – Dale M
    Oct 11, 2019 at 7:10

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