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Wisconsin State Bar Sues LexisNexis Over Pillar Icon

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on August 24, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Do you think you can confuse LexisNexis with the State Bar of Wisconsin?

One is, well, a state bar. And the other is a research services.

But, if you're simply looking at Lexis' logo website, you might think you're actually looking at the logo used by the State Bar of Wisconsin.

And, lawyers for the State Bar of Wisconsin would tend to agree with you. They say that the logo for one of LexisNexis' website,,  looks strikingly similar to their logo. A little too similar, as it turns out.

So, as expected of an organization made up of lawyers, the State Bar has filed suit against Lexis over the logo.

"Confusion is inevitable," the State Bar alleges in its complaint.

A side-by-side comparison of the two logos does show that they have some similarities:

Photo Credit: Journal Sentinel

Are you sufficiently confused?

Granted, the "pillars" logo is definitely similar in many respects. But it could be argued that the logos are simply similar because they both depict pillars. And, there's only so much variety one can have when coming up with a logo with a pillar.

Maybe law firms themselves should take caution. After all, no firm wants to be slapped with a lawsuit accusing them of pilfering a logo.

But, with so many companies, businesses and associations out there, how does one find out if you're accidentally "too similar" to someone else's trademarked logo?

For one, you could try to navigate the clunky trademarks search on the USPTO website, which allows users to search through trademarked designs. Of course, most law firms and intellectual property attorneys probably have more sophisticated ways of finding out of images are "too similar."

Whatever your methods of copyright/trademark-checking may be, the end goal is probably the same. It's to avoid ending up like LexisNexis and the State Bar of Wisconsin, who will likely be dueling it out in court (or settling) over whether or not there was any trademark infringement.

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