When Corporate Logos Collide

Simple logos sometimes do look alike. It can be an unfortunate accident. But in the case of Netflix and Prolific North, there’s undeniably a common theme: both have a red ribbon making the shape of an N, and the colours and gradients are very similar.

Netflix has said that its new logo will be used in a limited capacity – including some apps – but will not replace its main logo. This will be little comfort for Prolific North. If Prolific North was to develop an app, it’s conceivable that people could be confused as to which is which, with Netflix’s app logo already quite distinguishable.

The current version of Prolific North’s logo has been used since March 2015, so there’s certainly no debate about who came first in this logo battle. Now, Prolific North is consulting its lawyers to find out whether it can put pressure on Netflix to have a re-think.

Protecting Logos

In cases like this, logo similarity may not be intentional at all. Most design and branding agencies would look for similar logos to ensure they haven’t unintentionally infringed an idea. Even a simple reverse image search can be effective. But it’s not uncommon when some logo designers hit upon an idea that may already be in use.

For many small businesses, it makes sense to buy a trademark to protect your investment against copies or unintended clashes. Typically, you can trademark both your company name and your logo, which may include the fonts and typesetting for the brand.

Prolific North has made it clear that it wants to cooperate with Netflix, if possible, rather than taking the company to court. Regardless of the existence of a trademark, this is certainly the most sensible – and least costly – route to resolution.

Branding Your Business

Ultimate is a full service digital agency in Cheshire, offering digital marketing, website design and corporate branding for businesses across the UK. If you need a new business logo, or you’d like to develop a unique image for your company, get in touch with our team to find out how we can help.

Written by Charlotte Green July of 2016