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Hello Everybody,

I see that there have been other threads similar to this one but have read through them and have not found exactly what I am looking for hope someone can explain it a little more clearly. I have sent letters to the US Copyrights department and have them confirm that Fonts, slogans, and or coloring can not be copyrighted however does trademarks fall into this same discussion? Trademarks are only legal entities to a business ie "ESPN" if this is trademarked does that mean, if I own the font and want to create a shirt that reads "ESPN" in that same font that use am I breaking a Trademark law? This is an important issue for me because I don't want to be put on the chopping block for lack of information.
 

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T D Homa said:
Trademarks are only legal entities to a business ie "ESPN" if this is trademarked does that mean, if I own the font and want to create a shirt that reads "ESPN" in that same font that use am I breaking a Trademark law?
Absolutely. The ESPN trademark could be, and surely is, a combination of the font and the letters. You may be able to PARODY the ESPN font and letters, but I'd be careful even doing that. That said, even if you didn't use the ESPN font, but just the name, and it was proven that you did it to misrepresent yourself or your product as having something to do with the ESPN company, then you could get in trouble as well. Just don't do it!
 

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Trademarks are only legal entities to a business ie "ESPN" if this is trademarked does that mean, if I own the font and want to create a shirt that reads "ESPN" in that same font that use am I breaking a Trademark law?
Yes. In general, you cannot used registered trademarks on merchandise for sale without permission.

Some slogans can be trademarked...usually if that slogan is also part of a brand (there's a link to the trademark search forum at USPTO in the left hand column of this site under "Resources").

This is an important issue for me because I don't want to be put on the chopping block for lack of information.
If you are getting into the area where you want to use someone else's intellectual property, your best bet might be to contact a lawyer who can explain these things to you and represent you if you decide to move forward.
 

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I found this info on findlaw website.
it explains that I can use the slogan 'just do it' since i am not violating trademark terms- notice:
Unlike copyrights, trademarks don't give their owners unlimited rights to use phrases for all purposes. Indeed, trademarks were only designed to protect a merchant's efforts to distinguish his brands from those of his rivals. As the law seeks to stop competitors from tricking consumers as to the source of goods, trademark rights only extend to phrases when used in marketing or advertising.
Unless a phrase is used to fool consumers, anyone is free to use it regardless of how unique it may be.
greggy
 

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I found this info on findlaw website.
it explains that I can use the slogan 'just do it' since i am not violating trademark terms- notice:
Unlike copyrights, trademarks don't give their owners unlimited rights to use phrases for all purposes. Indeed, trademarks were only designed to protect a merchant's efforts to distinguish his brands from those of his rivals. As the law seeks to stop competitors from tricking consumers as to the source of goods, trademark rights only extend to phrases when used in marketing or advertising.
Unless a phrase is used to fool consumers, anyone is free to use it regardless of how unique it may be.
greggy
That article was based on a very specific application. And the "Just Do It" reference was a small one. There's a big difference between commercial and non-commercial use of a trademark. While it's true that trademarks don't give their owners unlimited rights to all purposes, trademarks certainly give their owners unlimited rights within the class they registered. So there is no blanket statement that allows for legal use of a registered trademark. There are too many variables so the legality of usage needs to be on a case by case basis.

In your case (the ad you posted in your other thread), your use is ok. But if you started using "Just Do It" on t-shirts that you sell, you would definitely be infringing on Nike's trademark and could be sued.
 
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