Can I be sued for trademark infringement if a project that I’m running uses a similar name to a Korean TV show?

The project would be kickstarted but no one would make any money off of the funds raised. All funds would go towards the project.

Asked on September 17, 2015 under Business Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If the name is confusingly similar to the Korean TV show, the show's name is protected by trademark, and the show notices what you are doing and objects to it, then yes, you can be sued for trademark infringement. It doesn't matter what you do with the proceeds or funds only the trademark owner has the right to use the mark/name, and that includes "confusingly similar" names or marks. There is  certainly an element of subjectivity to determining whether one name is similar enough to another to be problem factors include 1 how similar? 2 similar industry, market, product, services, or audience? 3 the trademarked name--how well known is it? The "stronger" the answer to those three questions, the more likely it is that infringement could be found.


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