What agreement contract do I need if someone granted me permission to use their name for a business/ product? 4 Answers as of February 22, 2011

A friend of mine has a very unusual nickname which seemed fitting for my web company. I have asked her permission to make use of it and she agreed, if I pay her 5% of profits (if I make any). I am more than willing to make this deal as the name means much more to me. What kind of agreement or contract do I need to make with her to make it more "foolproof" and not screw each other in the deal. I just don't like the verbal "gentleman's agreement" we have and would like it on paper.

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Mark S. Hubert PC
Mark S. Hubert PC | Mark Hubert
You do not need any contract to do this. You cannot copyright a persons name. It is not allowed. I would tell them that I like the name and that I was planning to use it on the web but I would not pay them any royalties because they do not own anything. Set aside 5% of you profits for something worthwhile like homeless shelters, animal shelters etc.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 2/22/2011
DANIEL NESBITT | Hasse & Nesbitt
Your personal relationship aside, it does not appear that you have an obligation to pay anything, or that your friend has any right to demand payment, assuming the "name" has not protected by the filing of a trademark application. Since you are not obligated to pay, you should avoid restraints that don't exist. Since you owe and have owed nothing, you can gift the funds, if you wish. But avoid an obligation where none currently exists.

If you still need a written agreement, contact a lawyer to work out the terms and conditions for payments.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 2/22/2011
Law Offices of Juan Dotson
Law Offices of Juan Dotson | Juan Dotson
You need a contract that specifies how the payment will be calculated and made. The contract should address whether you have exclusive use of the nickname, what your friend's duties are in promoting the website/nickname, how permission can be terminated, etc. An attorney can probably help you create a one page document.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/21/2011
Malhotra Law Firm, PLLC
Malhotra Law Firm, PLLC | Deepak Malhotra
You need a licensing agreement such as a trademark license agreement. There are many terms that are negotiable such as who is responsible for enforcement if there is an infringer. There is also a question as to whether there really are any existing rights. Trademark rights are derived primarily from use in commerce.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 2/21/2011
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