Is it legal to sale t-shirts with a beer logo which is back filled with a camouflaged pattern? 7 Answers as of November 12, 2013

For example, the beer symbol instead of the usual colors, using a graphic software changing the color to camouflaged pattern instead. I have made them for myself using iron on transfer, but everyone asks where I got it, so I wondered if I could sell these?

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Sebby Law Office
Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
Probably not if the logo is a registered trademark of the beer company. However, if the intent is some sort of parody of the logo, you may have a free speech right to alter it.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 11/12/2013
Barton Barton & Plotkin
Barton Barton & Plotkin | Maurice Ross
This would constitute copyright and trademark infringement. It would not be legal unless you obtained licenses from the copyright and trademark owner of the beer logo. The mere fact that you change the colors does not avoid infringement. Logos are protected by copyright law. You change of colors creates a derivative work-but you are not legally permitted to create a derivative work without approval of the owner of the copyright. Logos also operate as trademarks, identifying the source of goods and services (in this case a beer company). When you use this logo (even as changed) on your T-Shirt, you create a significant likelihood of consumer confusion. In so doing, you violate trademark law. If you violate copyright and trademark law, you could be sued for statutory damages and attorneys fees. For example, under copyright law, statutory damages can be up to $150,000 if you are found to willfully infringe. Under trademark law, statutory damages can be up to two million dollars. Attorneys fees for a matter like this can be tens of thousands of dollars. Thus, it would be a very foolish idea for you to sell these T-shirts without permission from the owners of the copyright and trademark.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 11/12/2013
DANIEL NESBITT | Hasse & Nesbitt
You may need a license from the beer symbol owner, and you may might consider whether you have any rights in the works you have created. You better engage an attorney.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 11/12/2013
Mark S. Hubert PC
Mark S. Hubert PC | Mark Hubert
It all depends on what the rest of the t shirt has on it and whether the use of the logo in any way would lead consumers to believe the t shirt came from or originated from that beer company. Also it must not disparage the beer company. The quality must be in line with the quality that the beer company uses for its t shirts. All in all it would be best for you to get permission from the beer company. However the reality of the matter is that if you are doing one off small production runs then the chances of the beer company trying to go after you is slim.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 11/12/2013
Webb IP Law Group
Webb IP Law Group | Jason P Webb
You should go to an attorney with the specific question so they can see what you are describing in the context of what logo and how it is changed. Generally speaking. if a changed logo is recognizable, there are likely to be problems, especially if the logo is owned by a large company.
Answer Applies to: Utah
Replied: 11/12/2013
    Law Office of Kirk Buhler
    Law Office of Kirk Buhler | Kirk A Buhler
    I can't tell from your question if you are using a known brand of beer in the camouflaged pattern, or just using a generic image of a bottle or can of beer in the camouflaged pattern. If you can tell the brand or trademark of the beer then it probably violates the trademark. If you just use the word "BEER" then you are probably fine.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/12/2013
    Banner & Witcoff, Ltd. | Ernie Linek
    The original beer logo is likely protected by the owner under both trademark law and copyright law. Your use of the original logo would be infringement - and you could be sued by the owner to (1) stop and (2) pay damages. Use a "made up" logo of your own. "BEER".
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 11/12/2013
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