Using someone else's TM/brand name in a blog post title

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I'd like opinions (preferably from someone with legal knowledge AKA an attorney)...

I want to write an article (and make a video) that has someone else's trademark/brand name in the title.

For the sake of example, let's pretend it's Nintendo 64 (it's not)

I want my article and video title to be:

"How to make your own Nintendo 64"

And then the article would show the steps how to make something very similar to that product, and would contain affiliate links for the needed materials.

What are the legal risks if any of doing this?

Thanks
#blog #post #title #tm or brand
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  • Profile picture of the author Brent Stangel
    I'd like opinions (preferably from someone with legal knowledge AKA an attorney)...
    Then contact an attorney.

    Brent
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    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      I hereby anoint you Important Attorney , Class III. Give them the darn advice already!

      Originally Posted by Brent Stangel View Post

      Then contact an attorney.

      Brent
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      • Profile picture of the author Brent Stangel
        Originally Posted by DABK View Post

        I hereby anoint you Important Attorney , Class III. Give them the darn advice already!
        Damn the torpedos, full speed ahead!

        Brent
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        • Profile picture of the author DABK
          Now you're talking, boss!

          Originally Posted by Brent Stangel View Post

          Damn the torpedos, full speed ahead!

          Brent
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  • Profile picture of the author agmccall
    Originally Posted by flyingSquirrel View Post


    What are the legal risks if any of doing this?

    Thanks
    0

    Maybe things like copyright violations, patent violations. Like you said, you would like advice from an attorney. So go to a legal forum with attorneys. You are on a marketing forum where probably more than half the people here could give a crap about ethics and legalities

    al
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Meaney
    As I understand it...

    If you're using the trademark to support your opinion or review, it's all good.

    If you're using the trademarks in a way that makes you look connected to the company, then you're at risk.

    Do talk to a lawyer before you do anything, a forum is probably the worst place to get advice on a serious issue like this.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    If you're using the trademark to support your opinion or review, it's all good.
    That's the problem - what we think we understand is only good until it isn't.

    I used a trademark name in a complimentary review on a niche site - used only in article title/page title ....got a 'take down' notice from the (large) company's legal team pretty quickly.

    I would think using a trademark to attract readers only to tell them how to make 'something similar' rather than buying that product....would make you a target...but that's my guess. If you end up in court (highly unlikely) - I won't be there.
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  • Profile picture of the author flyingSquirrel
    To everyone who told me to contact a lawyer / go on a law forum...

    1. I can't afford a lawyer
    2. I did post this on a law forum ALSO so I will check what they said
    3. I don't make a habit of relying on one source of info and thought it would be nice to hear other viewpoints or even maybe someone here had experience with the issue

    Thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    The entire concept of 'trademark registration' is to keep others from using YOUR trademarked name for their benefit.

    Truth is - you might not have a problem doing this. It ALL depends on how diligently that trademark holder pursues infringement. No matter what advice you get - it's your decision to make so getting multiple viewpoints is not a bad idea.
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Originally Posted by Michael Meaney View Post

    Do talk to a lawyer before you do anything, a forum is probably the worst place to get advice on a serious issue like this.
    This is particularly true, because you often get conflicting advice from unqualified advisors, and way too many people cherry pick that advice for the POV that supports what they want to do anyway.

    They aren't looking for "is this legal?", they're asking "what are my odds of getting away with this?"

    Same with the "is this a good idea?" folks. They get a handful of detailed posts on why the idea could fail and one two-line "you can do it" post. They then profusely thank the "you can do it" cheerleader and label the others as "haters."
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  • Profile picture of the author Dan Riffle
    If you couldn't use product names in titles/links, sites like CNET.com would be out of business.

    However, your content itself could trigger a looksee by corporate attorneys.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kurt
      Originally Posted by Dan Riffle View Post

      If you couldn't use product names in titles/links, sites like CNET.com would be out of business.

      However, your content itself could trigger a looksee by corporate attorneys.
      Exactly. Think about every media outlet like newspapers and magazines...and even this very forum. I seriously doubt they get permission every time they mention a TM'ed business in a headline/title.

      Honda Announces New Model - Better check if it's OK...
      McDonald's Chicken Nugget Review - Better check if it's OK...
      Riffle's Liquor Store Robbed - Better check if it's OK...

      There's a big difference between using a TM in a domain and using it in a title/URL/article. And if one says they can't be used in URLs and page titles, the mods on this forum aren't doing a very good job of enforcing this.

      Not being able to use TMs in titles, headlines and URLs would be a serious blow to the First Amendment in the US. Using a TM to compete with that business isn't allowed, however discussing facts and opinions about that business is.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    One of these days the poor old First Amendment is going to snap from being stretched so far.

    You can use any and all 'trademarks' you want - in any way you want....right up until the trademark HOLDER's lawyers get in touch with you. Using the trademark in a title when the object of the article is to provide an alternative to the trademarked product....has nothing to do with the First Amendment.

    Only good advice any of us have given is 'ask a lawyer'.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kurt
      Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

      One of these days the poor old First Amendment is going to snap from being stretched so far.

      You can use any and all 'trademarks' you want - in any way you want....right up until the trademark HOLDER's lawyers get in touch with you. Using the trademark in a title when the object of the article is to provide an alternative to the trademarked product....has nothing to do with the First Amendment.

      Only good advice any of us have given is 'ask a lawyer'.
      The First Amendment may be "stretched" too far, but it won't be from using TMs in a title.

      And no one said you can use TMs any way you want, which is exactly why above I said, "Using a TM to compete with that business isn't allowed". There's also a few other uses that aren't allowed, such as libel, but I assumed readers understood that.

      If using a TM in a title/headline/URLs isn't fair use, then you need to start deleting all threads that use TMs in titles. You can start with any thread posted using words like Photoshop, aWeber. Amazon and plenty more, unless you claim that forums are somehow exempt from TM laws while no other form of media is...

      When creating a new thread, this very forum has three input boxes, including one that says "Title". The words in this "Title" input box are then inserted in the HTML title tag for the thread as well as the URL. If using TMs wasn't fair use, you're doing the WF a big disservice by allowing every one these threads.

      Getting a "take down" notice doesn't mean the legal team had a legal theory to back it up. There's plenty of examples of legal bullying. Did you consult a lawyer before taking your article down? Or did you simply remove the article because you didn't want to hassle with it?

      We can also pay attention to how big companies with big legal teams handle situations. Youtube, which is pretty strict with copyright and TMs allows them in titles.
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    Just avoid the whole situation altogether by not doing what you're asking. If you have to ask us if it's a good idea when it comes to legality.... then you probably shouldn't proceed with the project.
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