Can I use an identical logo as another company that works in a completely different industry as me and would not be considered competition.

I am trying to start a clothing line and I am currently trying to get a logo for my company. I recently came up with one but I found out that another company is using an identical logo that is trademarked by them. I was wondering if I could still use it since the other company makes protective gear such as helmets, bulletproof vests and so on while I am hoping to make apparel, such as shirts, hats, sweaters, jackets, etc.

Asked on September 7, 2017 under Business Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, you cannot.
1) You cannot use an *identical* logo even if in a different industry; a similar one possibly (but see below), but you can *never* use the exact logo someone else has trademarked for *any* purpose. Under trademark law, only the owner of a trademark (or those the owner licenses or authorizes) may use it.
2) The industries are likely too similar anyway, even for a closely similar but not identical mark. A company making protective gear could also make clothing. For example, Harley Davidson makes protective gear (helmets, riding chaps) and also clothing (shirts, jackets, etc.). Given that it's not a huge stretch for a company doing one to do the other, even a similar mark would likely be infringing.


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