7

I am redesigning my website to show my skills and experience, and I thought it would be a nice idea to have the logos of companies I have worked for and with (directly and indirectly). I'm wondering if I can use their logos without requiring their express consent.

I'm a software engineer who has done only permanent jobs (i.e. not contract) though did freelance as a journalist many years ago. I'd like to include the logos of the publications as well as these were big companies.

A couple of examples:

  1. Commissioned on a freelance basis for Publications P1,P2,P3 (name published)
  2. Employee of CompanySW who supply bespoke software solutions to BigCompanyAV, BigCompanyMS, BigCompanyJJ
  3. Employee of CompanyEE working directly with engineers at CarCompanyV, CarCompanyF, and indirectly by supplying software to dealerships of CarCompanyK
  4. Employee at CompanyC which supplies their flagship product to 100s of companies (this feels different to me than #2)

Can I also use products? For example at CompanySW we developed a component for FamousProductA. Can I put that on my site?

5

It's always safer to ask, right?

But if you want our opinion, then: Yes, you can use it.

Just be professional there as well. Do not give project names or project specifications, but rather only company name and technologies you used while working for them.

If you have, however, created a cool thing and want to brag with it, then it's a must to ask your company for permission to disclose such information.

  • if its been ages since you worked there and its a big firm, who do you need to ask? – SuperUberDuper Dec 14 '16 at 18:37
4

No logos. Putting someone's logo on your site without permission can be seen to imply endorsement by that company. You can end up in hot water. If in doubt, get permission.

  • Can you tell me more about this? Your reply is interesting. – Peter MV Jun 16 '14 at 15:28
  • I didn't go into detail but my rationale is identical to the answer here by bkh. – Xavier J Jun 16 '14 at 18:45
3

IANAL, so I cannot give you advice. I can only tell you how I would use a trademark on a web page of my own design.

First, I referred to Wikipedia and found a description of Nominative Use in a trademark context.

I take it to mean that I can use a client's trademark only enough to identify them in a statement, such as, "I taught AIX classes for IBM as a subcontractor to a now-defunct licensed training provider." (Which is a true statement, in my case.) In this statement, I use trademarked words, AIX and IBM, to identify them as a subject I taught and a client I taught for, both in the nominative case from a semantics perspective. I would expect to have no challenge for using such a statement on a web page that described my services that I had provided for them.

But I would draw the line at using "AIX" in its usual Roman font or the "IBM" stylized blue logo because a visitor to my site might infer that I was claiming that IBM had endorsed me for the services I was promoting, which is not the case.

If I REALLY wanted to used the stylized logo, I feel that I would have to get permission, and I would expect IBM to want to see my draft web page design so they can assess the context of my use of their logo. Too much hassle for me.

2

In the litigious environment we operate in today I would be very careful to use a logo of a firm on your website. I agree with Brian K Haney's discussion with nominative use above.

Going forward, as you work with clients, you may want to ask them if you can use their logo (or likeness) in promotional materials on your website. Then you will know upfront. In some cases you can offer a discount or some "Free" services if they agree to do this.

  • This answer works well for contracting though in my case I have been an employee of a company contracted to do the work. – VictorySaber Jul 31 '17 at 7:57
1

When doing a project or any work for a company, ask if you can use them as a reference. That's a great time to get permission. You can even add it as a part of a document they write off on when the job is complete. It basically just says you can use the logo.

I've gone both routes of asking and not asking and haven't had an issue with any. When asking, I've always got a clear yes or I don't care.

The only time I got in trouble was when a Disney rep said sure and shortly after I got a C&D letter from their lawyers. You can't use ANYTHING Disney or anything under their umbrella at all for any reason ever.

  • 1
    going for that necromancer badge eh? – user3244085 Jul 10 '17 at 6:49
0

I would say, if the work was not sensitive, I mean where any information can pose as a threat or likely to affect or compromise your client, you should desist. I also think in my opinion, that its always good to ask your client if you can use the project you did in your portfolio outlining clearly what information you will be giving out for evaluation purposes of your client. If the client may have questions arising from such, then you should address the same before using them in your portfolio. In my opinion, always ask before using such information.

-1

I think your client will be happy if you use their logo in your portfolio. This is a kind of promotion for client as well. I don`t think anything negative in this.

  • 2
    Not always. There are many companies which do not want to disclose too much details about their employees, current or ex ones. – Peter MV Jun 11 '14 at 16:00
  • It's also a good idea to expand in your answer with facts, references, and perhaps experiences that happened to you personally. You're making assumptions and guesses about what someone might do without anything to back this up. See How to Answer and the back it up rule for more guidance on how you might improve this post. Hope this helps. – jmort253 Jun 13 '14 at 6:16

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