I'm looking at making an app that enables remote access through a mobile device to other applications on your computer.

To add a remotely accessible device, the user must themselves select the corresponding program and add it to the list. My program will then identify and extract the logo from the .exe file and send that image over to the user's phone, adding it as an option to the possible apps the user can connect to.

I cannot know beforehand which application this could be and reasonable cannot ask for Logo usage permissions from every single company that employs a desktop application (or will do in the future).

So what would my legal stance be in regards to wanting to use company Xs logo to make it more fitting within the UI/UX?

  • I doubt it since Microsoft, GNOME, KDE, etc would all be sued into the ground if this was illegal May 30, 2022 at 3:22

1 Answer 1


If you are using the trademark to identify the actual owner that is Nominative fair use:

Nominative fair use occurs when a third party uses someone else’s mark to refer to the owner of the mark or to their goods and services. In this scenario, there is no other reasonable way to refer to the mark owner’s goods and services other than through the use of the mark. For example, in New Kids on the Block v Gannett Satellite Info Network, 971 F. 2d 302 (9th Cir 1992), two different newspapers conducted public polls about the New Kids on the Block band, the Ninth Circuit found that since the use was an accurate identification of the band with no suggestion of endorsement or sponsorship, and because there was no other way to refer to the band other than by its name, such use was non-infringing.

Courts consider the following factors in determining whether normative fair use applies:

  1. Whether the use implies an endorsement or sponsorship by the owner of the mark;

  2. Whether there exists no easier way to refer to the owners or its goods/services; and

  3. Whether only so much of the trademark is used as is necessary to identify the owner and no more.

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