The new Autodesk logo kind of looks like the Google Drive logo, yes? Yet, I’m going to hold off on saying it was derivative. In any case, you could make the argument that the Google Drive mark is an icon (not a logo).
It happens more frequently than you think. After all, balance and composition of design actually limits you to fewer choices than you think. For a logo to appear attractive, memorable, and pleasing, it’s got to have some human aesthetic that agrees with good design rules.
Even using Google’s Search by Image option yields Autodesk’s new logo as the first visually similar logo. Another similar logo is OnLive’s. The ribbon look and the rule of thirds rears its recognizable shape.
Beyond that, all of them look kind of like the pretty familiar “recycle” logo.
These logos are all quite balanced. Colors are gradient and modern, yet blend naturally. Sharpness imbues precision. And of course, the rule of thirds are all over them.
One difference is how Autodesk’s logo breaks away from the “closed loop” of the Google Drive logo.
Now, it’s very easy to say, they look alike, but likeness doesn’t imply derivation. Balanced design is mathematical. Like a piece of music, you inherently understand that certain distances between points sound and look better. This is best illustrated by The Axis of Awesome’s song “4 Chords” which demonstrates a pop-song uber-medley constructed by repeating the same chord progression.
Visual design can be the equivalent of an ear-worm. And like the notes/chords in music, you have a limited set of combinations (shapes and colors) that will resonate with a general audience. This was proven by Science in music, and I’ll bet you $9 it’s true for visual design as well.
So what to do when trademark lawyers come a-knockin’? I guess, point out just how different these are to each other in use or how Google is well established as is Autodesk so no one will likely ever confuse the two.