I am incapable (artistically) of designing a logo for my startup. If I offer to pay someone to create it for me, do I own the intellectual property rights to the logo? Are there any other steps I have to take to make sure that the logo cannot be reused by the designer for some other purpose?
In the US an artist owns the copyright to any work he creates unless and intill he transfers the copyright to someone else. If you expect to own the logo (that is, own the copyright to the logo), then get a written agreement stating that the graphic artist that creates it transfers and assigns all rights in the work to you.
The artist owns the copyright to the logo. All you own is a license to use the work which the artist can restrict, and place limits on your ability to use later. To ensure you own your logo in full, you need to have the copyright and IP rights to the logo fully transferred over to you which can only be done in writing. Sometimes third party platforms like for logo creation like 99 Designs and Crowdspring take care of this official transfer, but outside of those platforms you need to secure copyright assignment directly. We experienced similar type logo issues ourselves, and created Kunvay to help others with the same problem.