What are the laws regarding trademarks and naming rights? 2 Answers as of August 13, 2011Coke-A-Cola uses Stay Extraordinary and they have it trademarked for one of their products. Will I have to relinquish or pay money to Coke-A-Cola if I use that phrase as my business name? (IE: Stay Extraordinary Studios)
Barton Barton & Plotkin | Maurice Ross
Maybe.. There is no way any lawyer could answer this complex question based on the limited information which you provided. Trademark law is designed to prevent consumer confusion. In particular, the issue is whether consumers will be confused into believing that your business is associated with Coca Cola. I cannot possibly give you advice on that question without knowing many more details about your business. In addition to consumer confusion, it might be alleged that your use of the trademark dilutes its value and harms the reputation of the trademark owner. The issue of dilution is another complex issue, and there is no way any lawyer can advice you on whether you could be liable for dilution based on the limited facts provided. Finally, you should know that Coca Cola is extraordinarily aggressive in enforcing its IP rights. Thus, there is a significant risk that if you go down this road you will face an expensive law suit. It can costs tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees to defend such as suit, so if you decide to go down this road, make sure you have an adequate litigation war chest to defend yourself. If the brand is valuable to your business and you will derive great benefits from it, then go ahead and try. But if this is not a brand that will quickly generate substantial revenues for you, the risks and costs may not be worth the potential benefits.
Answer Applies to: New York