I am starting up a small, regional company and requested assistance from various logo designers to design a nice logo / emblem for our company. The logo designs that we really like are similar to a major company that has a well established operation internationally. You would recognize the name instantly if I were to disclose it. They, as we would like to do, employ a shield / crest as their logo on all of their vehicles; obviously, they're an automobile manufacturer. We are not involved in the automobile business in any manner / fashion.

The basic outer shape and some design features within the emblem are similar, because you can only design a shield that looks right so many ways. There are noticeable differences - but also similarities - in coloration (theirs is gold / ours is orange and silver, both have red / black). Our inset images / graphics within the logo as a whole are completely different and distinct.

We really like this design because it looks absolutely fabulous, but I'm concerned that we may be perceived as infringing on the other company's logo. I even went so far as to contact their US Legal Department to see if we could get an answer from them directly, but I'm still waiting on that. I don't know the chances of them even responding to me because they are so big and I'm a small fry.

What are the possible implications? Are we so small that they wouldn't even bother with us? We don't sell vehicles, we simply investigative insurance claims in a tri-state area. NOnetheless, I don't want to get nailed with a lawsuit at some point down the road once we get underway either. I would prefer to avert any potential problems at the onset.

Any input / advice is greatly appreciated.

Thank you !!