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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a question. I started a small t shirt company a few years ago. It is very small but I have a pretty big following on Facebook and a few other sites. My site is being redone and I googled my company name. It seems someone else has copied my logo (very generic but mine without a doubt) and now has trademarked it. I have been using the name for many years and the logo has been mine since 2008 and my designer can prove it. A few days ago, a friend of mine is a country singer and has a few videos and has a HUGE following wants to sell my shirts at his concerts and on his site.. I am now worried about this douche that trademarked my logo.. What am I supposed to do?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Get an attorney. If you can prove "first use in commerce," the trademark is yours.
I looked into the attorney route.. It will be expensive. Would it be better to change the logo a little than to pay an attorney?(I hate spendin money on attorneys?) Or just keep going and have the douchebag that copied me take me to court? Like, i said, I have had the name since the internet started but the logo I had for about 3 years before "douchebag" trademarked it... Like I said, he did it very generic but he copied me all day long knowing that if I were to go big, he could say" Oh no, that's my trademarked logo"
 

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It really depends on what you want to accomplish.

If the logo is yours, then I wouldn't change it just to give in to the douchebag. It's going to make it look like you are copying him rather than the other way around.

If you want to make sure the logo is exclusively yours without any legal trouble in the future, then get an attorney, pay the fees and make sure it's yours.

But if you are ok with both you and the douchebag operating separate brands with similar logos, then keep going as is. But that would send a bad message in regards to your real intent to protect your logo.

Bottom line is, if you're not willing to protect your logo, then you really don't have much ground to claim trademark ownership. Sounds like you want the cheapest path. So keep going as is and take care of the legal issues if/when it gets to that point.

Out of curiosity, is it only the logo that is the same? Or are you using the same brand name too?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It is the same logo and then he used the same name and then reversed the name.. I just hate giving money to an attorney when it is mine.. Seems the only one who will be ahead in the end is the attorney... Hell, I am living paycheck to paycheck now. It's not like I have the money to spend on an attorney..
 

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Another option would be, as you have intimated, change your logo and trademark it - if that is alright with you. Start anew and do it right.

Challenging a trademarked logo puts the burden of proof rests heavily on your shoulders - and in your pockets. I do not know what you mean by "very generic but mine" but from how I understand the way you put it you have lots of proving to do.

Some companies change their logos to create a new image. If you think you can do that without losing you customer base then that is an option. The other is the expensive legal route.

So as TIm puts it, it depends on what you want to accomplish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
When I say a "very generic but mine" I mean mine is very detailed. Theirs is a circle with cowboy and surfboard and a few other things. Mine is just detailed. There is NO WAY they could have come up with theirs without them seeing mine.. Mine is B
 

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Hell, I am living paycheck to paycheck now. It's not like I have the money to spend on an attorney..
Then how do you have the money to operate a legit business?

I'm completely confused what you are trying to do.

If you don't want to incur legal fees, then you can't prevent the other guy from using the logo. You can keep using your version if you want, but you are running the risk of being forced into legal issues (if the other guy sues you). If you want to avoid any legal issues, then Angel is correct... change your logo and start new.

If your country singer friend wants you to sell shirts at his concerts, maybe re-brand with something that connects with his music.
 

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That will definitely add to your legal expense and to your burden of proof to prove ownership.

Registration is a prima facie proof that they are the owners of the trademark and not you. Since it is not a direct or complete copy you must prove that at least two things

1) That you are the rightful owner of the trademark that is alleged to have been copied
2) That their logo or trademark is substantially similar to the one you rightfully own.
 

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Ok, since I am living paycheck to paycheck. Someone else is free to take what is mine!!
The ugly truth fact is that you have to spend time and energy to claim a legal right. You have to likewise spend money to defend against a false claim or false allegation.

Under such circumstances restart fresh and register your trademark and logo. Then, you will have the prima facie proof of ownership and if you decide to file a case it is the infringer who will be burdened to prove that they did not copy your trademark or logo
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The ugly truth fact is that you have to spend time and energy to claim a legal right. You have to likewise spend money to defend against a false claim or false allegation.

Under such circumstances restart fresh and register your trademark and logo. Then, you will have the prima facie proof of ownership and if you decide to file a case it is the infringer who will be burdened to prove that they did not copy your trademark or logo
Or I can take a trip to their home and settle things the old way!!! Just kiddin!!!
 

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Ok, since I am living paycheck to paycheck. Someone else is free to take what is mine!!
Ok, I saw both logos. Now I'm even more confused. What exactly was taken from you? Just keep selling your shirts and making money. Who cares what some other guy is doing? There is plenty of competition out there to be wasting time on this.

While I can understand your being pissed, I don't know how much of a legal leg you have to stand on here. Yes, they are similar. But you would have to prove confusion in the marketplace and damages. Remember, you are seeing this through the eyes of a brand owner and/or graphic designer. Through the eyes of a judge, it will look a lot different. There is more to claiming infringement than just some design similarities.

Focus on your own brand and market. Your version of the logo and brand name is better anyway. You are the original. Stay ahead of the curve and create a better product. Improve your branding and marketing and you will succeed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ok, I saw both logos. Now I'm even more confused. What exactly was taken from you? Just keep selling your shirts and making money. Who cares what some other guy is doing? There is plenty of competition out there to be wasting time on this.

While I can understand your being pissed, I don't know how much of a legal leg you have to stand on here. Yes, they are similar. But you would have to prove confusion in the marketplace and damages. Remember, you are seeing this through the eyes of a brand owner and/or graphic designer. Through the eyes of a judge, it will look a lot different. There is more to claiming infringement than just some design similarities.

Focus on your own brand and market. Your version of the logo and brand name is better anyway. You are the original. Stay ahead of the curve and create a better product. Improve your branding and marketing and you will succeed.
Personally, I don't care that he did it. just don't want to start selling a bunch of shirts and then him say that I am using HIS logo.. That's waht this is about.. I don't really care that he did what he did. I just don't want to get screwed down the road because HE has the actual trademark!
 

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To add, I am not familiar with US laws but usually you must first establish with some quantum of evidence that there is an infringement before the burden of proof shifts to the infringer.

Sometimes, it is better to just forget and learn from your experience. Nothing in life is really fair. Just look at The 24th Annual Independent Critics List of the 100 Most Handsome Face of 2013
 

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It doesn't matter that he was the first to register the trademark. In the US, "first use in commerce" will be granted trademark ownership. But in this case, there may be enough difference that it will never matter. He has his version and you have yours. To get a better understanding, you should at least consider getting a free consult from a local IP attorney. Most will offer a few minutes of their time to answer a couple of questions for free.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It doesn't matter that he was the first to register the trademark. In the US, "first use in commerce" will be granted trademark ownership. But in this case, there may be enough difference that it will never matter. He has his version and you have yours. To get a better understanding, you should at least consider getting a free consult from a local IP attorney. Most will offer a few minutes of their time to answer a couple of questions for free.
Thanks, I don't even mind spending a few hundred or even possibly a few thousand on an attorney. I just don't want to spend everything I have on attorneys fees when I can get the brand going...
 
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