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Am I allowed to refer to a trademarked product when selling another product?

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Yes, but be careful.

Having the right does not mean that you won’t be sued in America.

This particular right is described in the Lanham Act as a type of fair use.

The factors for “nominative” fair use are as follows.

  • a product or service must not be readily identifiable without use of the mark,
  • The user only uses so much of the mark as is necessary.
  • The user does not do anything to imply sponsorship or endorsement

In fact, it would be useful to provide a prominent disclaimer such as:

“All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies, and use of a trademark nominatively to refer to a particular product or service does not imply sponsorship or endorsement.”

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I'm Chris Paradies, a Florida Bar certified intellectual property Attorney and U.S. Reg. Patent Attorney, founder of Paradies® law and creator of the IPscaling process. I chair the board of directors for the Tampa Bay Innovation Center and serve as a facilitator helping small business owners get started right. I work hard as an advocate for small businesses and have received awards and recognition for support of small business economic development and leadership in technology. I'm a West Point graduate, U.S. Army veteran and entrepreneur. I'm not afraid to stand up and say that the Big Law model is broken and doesn't serve entrepreneurs well. Some of the alternatives are even worse! This is a market ripe for disruptive change. And I'm willing to take the lead. Join me!


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