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A tale of two logos

Posted On: August 16th, 2008 | Posted by: Dean


I was as intrigued as anyone when I read on Dick Eastman’s blog and others earlier this month about Ancestry’s new Chinese-language site, www.jiapu.cn. In my casual familiarity with Chinese culture I’ve noticed a strong dedication to maintaining and respecting family lineage, so bringing sophisticated online genealogy research tools to China seems like a great move on Ancestry’s part to me.

But it got even more interesting when I actually visited the site. I was greeted by an attractive-looking tree logo (brown tree trunk with red leaves) with accompanying red type that looked faintly familiar — not from Ancestry’s existing sites — but from ours! Take a look and see what you think.

Jiapu Logo

Our logo

OK, so there are plenty of differences:

  • Jiapu’s leaves are two different colors and a slightly different shape than ours.
  • Our tree has a kind of sunburst in the background illuminating it, but Jiapu’s doesn’t.
  • Jiapu’s logo is animated with ‘windblown’ leaves that move off to the right when you mouse over it; ours isn’t animated at all.

But there are also several glaring similarities:

  • The jiapu tree trunk is a nearly identical shade of brown as ours; it also is angled up and to the right as ours is
  • One of jiapu’s two leaf colors looks the same as ours
  • Their name is red with a black tagline; so is ours

So how did this similarity come about? My guess is that it’s random coincidence — yet another example of two sets of talented people working completely independently and coming up with something similar without the benefit of any knowledge of the other’s work. Happens all the time.

I talked in an earlier post about the genesis of our logo. We filed for trademark protection on it in June of this year. I have no idea when and for what countries Ancestry’s jiapu.cn logo was trademarked (though I’m definitely curious).

I probably wouldn’t have even bothered to blog about this issue at all if it weren’t for a certain recent lawsuit filed by Ancestry against Millenia and BTH2. The topic of the lawsuit? Similarities in the color, shape, and wording of two different genealogy companies’ tree logos (among other branding-related elements). Hmm…

2 Responses to “A tale of two logos”

  1. Genealogy Blogs » Blog Archive » It’s Only Trademark Infringement When the Other Guy Does It Says:

    [...] The Genealogue Dean at Genlighten saw something familiar on Ancestry.com’s new Chinese-language site. I was greeted by an attractive-looking tree logo [...]

  2. It’s Only Trademark Infringement When the Other Guy Does It Says:

    [...] When the Other Guy Does It September 11, 2008 by admin From The Genealogue Dean at Genlighten saw something familiar on Ancestry.com’s new Chinese-language site. I was greeted by an attractive-looking tree logo [...]

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