Kelowna city logo under fire for copyright issues
Published Wednesday, August 12, 2009 9:48AM PDT
It was a design intended to mimic the calm natural beauty of the Okanagan, but the new logo for the city of Kelowna is coming under fire for resembling an American corporate trademark.
The city's new image, made up of rows of multicoloured red, orange and blue triangles, was chosen last month after a lengthy process including more than $35,000 in public consultations.
But now a similar logo, commissioned by an American real-estate company, has started circulating around the city, causing concern the new logo may not be so original. It was forwarded to media early this week by a resident, and has now made its way to city hall.
Carla Stephens, Kelowna's media relations director, admits there are strong resemblances between the two.
"There are striking similarities," she told ctvbc.ca from her Kelowna office. "It's unfortunate that it resembles another logo, but I'm told this happens in other corporate fields."
The two-year process to choose the design was "lengthy," according to Stephens. Eight potential concepts were considered, with city council deciding on the winner out of three finalists.
All of the logos were commissioned by local artist Phred Martin, who says the inspiration for his design came to him during a run when he noticed a similar pattern on a pinecone.
Stephens said she has sent to the design to Martin, who is currently on vacation in New York, and that he agrees there are similarities.
"He was saying it's unfortunate but not totally unusual in the corporate world for logos to be similar. In the creative world these things can happen," Stephens said.
"Phred said he would not risk his reputation, or the city's, and we're very confident in him."
Martin was paid $10,000 for his work.
Stephens said the controversy isn't stopping the city from putting the new logo into motion.
"We are moving forward and we are in the process of having it trademarked," she said.
The U.S. firm 'Land Design' -- who designed the logo for client Sunhaven -- is now checking on possible copyright infringement.