Legal question about product shot and trademark

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  01 January 2013
Legal question about product shot and trademark

Hi all,

I have a question I could not find a clear answer to in the forums thus doing an extensive search on the keywords trademark and copyright.

My problem is, that I did a 3D image representing a Nikon camera and actually the render software company wants to publish the image in its websites gallery so I'm in doubt whether this could create problems on the legal side.
I'm clearly not intending to make any money out of this as I did this for practice and fun and the camera model was discontinued roughly 10 year ago, but the fact that it's not simply going to appear in some gallery thread of mine but on the commercial website of the software company make me be quite unsure.

As far as I could find out it's definitely nothing to do with copyright infringement, as I did not mimic any other artwork or so and the model and all it's textures are done by me, it's simply the fact of having the exact representation of an existing product under trademark including logo and model name that bothers me.
I'd tend to think that's no problem, as it's kinda like a photo and free publicity for the company, but I'm aware that doesn't necessarily reflect what the laws say.

What do you think?

Last edited by jojojo : 01 January 2013 at 09:06 PM.
  01 January 2013
Surely the render company is able to advise you in this regard? Have you asked them?
  01 January 2013
Yeah, this was the first thing I did, because they already have some shots of real products online, but they checked an couldn't really tell whether this could be a problem or not. Maybe it's safe to ask Nikon directly, dunno...
  01 January 2013
What is the use of the image? Is the image used as a direct sales claim or just as an example of what the render can do? If I get what you are asking, for the purposes you are describing it would fall more under copyright than trademark as they are using the image without permission, not really making a product similar to the Nikon and using the Nikon trademark to promote itself.

As far as it being a copyright issue, It COULD still be, as you did not design the camera itself. Nikon can say they designed the product, you just recreated it, there is nothing original. Car manufacturers (FORD/GM?TOYOTA) have already set precedent for this in the U.S. It is not limited to graphics or colors, but product designs as well (separate from the function/process protection covered in patents).

With all that being said, its really not your problem what happens between Nikon and the Render Company. It is their site and liability, not yours. You just re-created it, you are not the one misusing it. Let their attorneys contact Nikon and figure it out. Just have them sign a small agreement absolving you of what they do with it "indemnification" (pretty common in licensing agreements).

Visual Engineering, Inc.
Creative Communication | Industry Consultation
  01 January 2013
Actually they asked me if I would grant permission to use the image on their websites gallery, so their acting towards me is absolutely and perfectly correct and I have nothing to complain about here.
The point is that I would grant permission to display an image with the representation of a product I'm obviously not the rights owner of. I wouldn't even be claiming the product being my creation as it would be clearly stated what product it exactly is you can see there.

The aim of the image is all about getting the thing shown in the best possible and most realistic way, you could even come to the conclusion there's nothing particularly artistic about it, but then we're into photography here ... :-) Dunno if I could point out more precisely what my problem is...
  01 January 2013
I really do not see how this could be a problem at all... Its' not like you took Nikon's product photo and are publishing them without their permission. It is an original art piece of yours, you have the right to grant anyone you wish permission to use it.

Disclaimer - I'm not a lawyer, just an advocate for personal freedom. Ha!
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  01 January 2013
This might be worth reading if you're really worried

That said, I doubt Nikon would care, and ultimately if they did all they would do would be to ask you to remove it/take it down
Monsters! Monsters from the id!


MDI Digital
  01 January 2013
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