Is my company legally bound to remove references to a client from our website?

UPDATED: Dec 11, 2011

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Is my company legally bound to remove references to a client from our website?

I own a small marketing company and last year designed a website for a client. Due to a personal dispute he has now sent me a cease and desist letter which asks me to remove all references of his business from our website; we had been using his website as a sample of our design skills. Does he have grounds to take legal action against us?

Asked on December 11, 2011 under Business Law, Arkansas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Assuming that he owns the intellectual property--e.g. copyright and trademark in his company's name, logo, etc., as well as the design of the website--then yes, he can order you to not use or reproduce any of those elements. The owner of intellectual property controls its reproduction and use.

However, what you can still do is, without using his logo or particular typography, to simply factually list his website and its address as being one of your clients and a sample of your work product: the right to control intellectual property does not prevent others from listing facts, such as that they had done work for him or created something for him. Potential clients can then, if they choose, go to his website to see for themself what it looks like.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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