Legal Question in Entertainment Law in Minnesota

Name on Website

May I use the name of a fictional movie character/movie title on a public website? For example, I want to say''look out 'Air Bud'...'' to describe a dog's jumping ability. Do I need special rights to use the name ''Air Bud''?

Asked on 12/02/08, 6:42 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Maury Beaulier612.240.8005 Minnesota Lawyers

Re: Name on Website

The answer depends on the nature of the website and the "use" of the name.

The Lanham Act permits a non-owner of a registered trademark to make "fair use" or "nominative use" of a trademark under certain circumstances without obtaining permission from the mark's owner. For example, the use by an author of a trademark in a fictional work to describe or identify particular goods or services, such as I "driving in my Checvy"m or jumping like "air bud" would not be considered an infringement as long as the use does not confuse the reader with respect to who actually owns the trademark.

If the use is for a commercial purpose, the rules may tighhten since you may be using an identifiable trademark to market an unrelated product or service.

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Answered on 12/02/08, 10:22 pm

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