Any readable company name, logo, element or design that represents or could identify an existing company or its product will ALWAYS be rejected by iStock.
Generally, identifiable existing "product" style designs should be handled with extreme care. The visual appearance of a product or its packaging is called 'trade dress' and is the subject of intellectual property protection. If the inspection team feels that the submitted logo design imitates other products, it will be rejected unless accompanied by a property release.
An existing, identifiable product should be avoided in your logo design. The use of an identifiable product to endorse another product, company, business or corporation is strictly prohibited. A product, even with existing logos removed, should not be included in your logo design. Any inclusion of such a product may lead customers to wrongly believe that there is an affiliation between the actual product owner and the customer that acquires your logo design.
The design of a map and/or globe is owned by the creator and/or company that commissioned the artist. Maps and/or globes as part of a composition should NEVER be clearly identifiable. We do accept ‘generic’ map designs such as silhouettes.
When submitting a logo design containing a generic map design, you must include the following information in your image description:
Every public building has different requirements for artists to access and record land, structures, contents, interiors and exteriors. Check with the security office and obtain consent, if possible, in the form of a property release. Some buildings may have information about commercial photography posted on their web site. (Exception: Any building (with logos removed) as part of a cityscape is acceptable as part of a design. Under no exception is a reference photo of a private building taken from within the property acceptable without a property release).
Information that may identify an object or property requires the identifying mark or text to be removed or a property release to be obtained. Identifying marks include: license plates, airplane call letters, boat names, addresses, identification, credit cards, etc.
In accordance with privacy rights, residential homes (as clearly recognizable in the logo design) will ALWAYS require a property release, and it is irrelevant if the home number is visible in the illustration.
Sport figures, uniforms, team insignia and professional athletes will NOT be accepted unless accompanied by a property release and may, in certain circumstances, require additional releases from such parties as the league and team or event sponsors.
Only statues dating older than 75 years of age (with exception to private ownership) are acceptable as part of a logo design. Sculptures, figurines, installations, modern art any object in a museum, any object in an art gallery including public sculpture, some architecture, and advertisements are likely protected and should be accompanied by a property release for use in stock logo designs.
Using vintage photography as reference material is only acceptable if the photo has been inherited from the original creator (family member), passing down copyright ownership, or where the applicable copyrights have expired. Logo designs based on vintage photography must always be accompanied by a property release (and model release where appropriate) or evidence that the copyrights have expired.
For more information on specific intellectual property issues see the iStock Technical Wiki.
The Technical Wiki is designed to facilitate collaboration among our members in developing a common resource of knowledge about intellectual property, privacy and property rights that impact our industry. It is important to understand that the Wiki is a work-in-progress and that the information contained herein is not intended to be a complete understanding of applicable IP issues. That is not to say that you will not find valuable and accurate information here; much of the time you will. However, your use of this Wiki is provided on an “as is” basis without warranty of any kind, and iStock does not represent or warrant that the information contained in the iStock Technical wiki is complete or accurate or free from error.