Legal Question in Intellectual Property in California

Is it legal to use another company's trademarked logo as a clothing design with word or phrase changes?

Asked on 8/28/13, 8:14 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Frank Natoli Natoli-Legal, LLC

The answer will depend. First, a logo is also in many cases a creative work covered under copyright law. So any use may be a violation of the owners IP rights even if it does not amount to a trademark infringement. Further, whether your use infringes on another's also depends on the class of good or service you both are in. For example, we have Delta Airlines and Delta faucets and the market is not confused because they do two completely different things and therefore are not infringing on one another. That said, very famous marks can always make a dilution argument, meaning any use of a confusingly similar mark will detract from theirs. For example, I don't care what you make, but if you think of calling it the "McWhatever" you can expect to hear from McDonald's lawyers.

I strongly suggest that you discuss your situation over with a lawyer in private and get some guidance. There may be a way to accomplish exactly what you want without the threat of legal action.

If you would like to discuss further over a free phone consult, feel free to contact me anytime that is convenient.

Kind regards,



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DISCLAIMER: this is not intended to be specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. No attorney-client relationship is formed on the basis of this posting.

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Answered on 9/04/13, 7:55 am

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