DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

January 2, 2014

About the Law: Trees and neighbors don't always mix

About the Law
Andrew Myers

---- — My neighbor is cutting trees in a wooded area behind our houses and very close to or over the boundary line. When I spoke to him, he was a bit of a bully and refused to pay for a survey to make sure none of the trees are on my side.

I believe some of the trees marked for cutting are on my property. Can I force him to stop and pay for a survey to prove they are his? If I do a survey and he is taking down my trees, can I get reimbursement for the cost of the survey?

First, file a police report. They’ll tell you it’s a civil matter. But, at least have a record that you reported this.

Get your own survey. New Hampshire law establishes a civil claim for timber trespass which includes cutting and removing trees on the property of another.

If your survey establishes that trees have been taken down on your property, the wrongdoer “shall” pay “no less than three and not more than 10 times” the market value of each tree. RSA 227-J:8.

That should cover the cost of the survey, plus the cost of the timber expert needed to establish the value of each felled tree. The court may or may not allow the cost of the survey in awarding costs of suit.

By the way, removing someone else’s trees also carries criminal penalties. It’s a felony if the value of the trees exceeds $1,000.

My company has a logo we’ve been using for several years. It was created for us by a graphic design company.

The problem is we are being bought by another company that wants to take over our logo and everything else. Does the graphic design company own the logo since they designed it or do I, since my company paid for the logo and artwork for business cards, signs and that sort of thing? What should I do?

Just going on the information in your question it is difficult to know about your circumstances. Under the Federal Copyright Act, the creator of the work owns it unless it is a work made for hire. But, there must be a written agreement for them to own the work. The other exception which does not apply in your case is if an employee does the design for an employer the employer owns it.

Carefully read all documents forming the agreement between yourself and the graphic design company. They may have retained all rights, but, it’s possible to get what’s called an assignment so you own the logo and have authority to sell it to your new company without running afoul of the law.

Do not do this yourself. Retain an intellectual property attorney to save yourself from potential liability and to save money in the long run.

If you check the U.S. Copyright Act at 17 U.S.C 101 you’ll see why a professional should do this.

Andrew Myers of Derry has law offices in Derry and North Andover. He is a member of the American Association for Justice and the New Hampshire Trial Lawyers Association. Send questions to andrew@attorney-myers.com.