Is parodying a company's brand name, copyright infringement? 2 Answers as of September 29, 2014

Can I be sued and held liable for selling merchandise featuring said parodied brand name?

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Webb IP Law Group
Webb IP Law Group | Jason P Webb
It is typically trademark infringement to parody a trademark, especially a famous trademark. There is a case where someone made shirts that said "Cocaine" in the same coloring and script as the Coca-Cola logo and a judge issued an injunction to make them stop. The guys making the shirts said it was a parody, and that didn't help them at all.
Answer Applies to: Utah
Replied: 9/29/2014
Banner & Witcoff, Ltd. | Ernie Linek
Fair Use might be a useful copyright defense - but such a defense does not mean that the copyright owner will not sue you in Federal Court. A recent parody case was just decided by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals - in favor of the accused infringer. However - note that this case included both a trial and an appeal - very expensive. The Seventh Circuit applied the four non-exclusive fair use factors and affirmed the district court's finding of fair use, ruling that: * The first two factors (purpose and character of the use and nature of the copyrighted work) did not weigh in either party's favor. * The third factor, the amount and substantiality of the portion used, weighed in favor of fair use. * The fourth, and typically most weighty factor, effect upon the market for or value of the original, also weighed in favor of fair use. Better that you avoid trial in the first place - by NOT acting in a way that would upset the copyright owner. Ask for permission to use the brand name - you might get it.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 9/29/2014
Click to View More Answers: