Paul wrote:Nothing has been trademarks or copyrighted as far as I know.
It's not necessary to register either trademark or copyright for it to be valid.
Paul wrote:The logo would be part of the property of the forum and would have transferred with the forum. (So I would argue). Anybody using the logo for purposes other than the purposes of the forum would clearly be trying to benefit from something they have no ownership claim over regardless of TM or copyright's.
That doesn't matter. There's no law against trying to benefit from something you don't own. It is, however, illegal to use others' property without permission, and that includes copyrights and trademarks.
Regarding the logo, it is copyrighted by whoever created it. Do we know who that is? I was on the forum when it was created and as I recall it was created by some member, but I don't remember who.
Further, the law requires a "writing" to transfer any copyright. Unless there some document from whoever created the logo, specifically transferring copyright, then that person still owns it. I suspect nothing like that has been done, so whoever created it still owns it, and could actually force the forum to stop using it if they wanted to. Further, Paul, unless you have a paper showing that the copyright has been transferred to you, you cannot force someone to stop using it, because they have precisely as much legal right to use it as you do -- none. In legal terms, you lack standing to enforce a copyright you don't own. The forum has a right to use it because whoever created it did so for the forum and clearly gave permission for that use.
That's all from a legal perspective, as in what you could enforce in a court of law. There's certainly nothing stopping you from calling Whitney and asking/telling her not to use it. If it came to a court case, though, and she chose to fight it, I don't think you could force her to stop.
I don't know as much about how trademarks work. A logo is both a trademark and copyrightable, so both sorts of protections apply. I think the trademark generally would be assumed to transfer along with the "business", so your purchase of the forum from Thomas should have made you the trademark owner.
Paul wrote:And clearly the logo belongs to and represents the forum. We allow the logo to be used on tshirts and other goodies through the webstore. I guess its something I need to research more. I'm not exactly looking to spend more money on the forum right now I must admit.....
I don't think you need to spend any money. It might be wise to track down whoever made the logo and get them to write you a statement (can even be e-mail or a forum post) that assigns the logo copyright to you.