Is using Character names for my own products illegal?

I am looking at starting a handmade soap business and was wondering if I make a piece inspired by a character or item, can I name it after that character or object? For example, 1 If I were to make a soap based on the DragonBalls from Dragonball Z, can I call them Dragonball Soap? Or if I were to make a soap based only on the color of a pokemon let’s

say Pikachu, and add a lightning bolt tail, can I name the soap Pikachu Soap? Finally, if I were to make a soap that looks like a Starbucks drink, can I use the name of the drink for that soap?

Asked on August 11, 2018 under Business Law, Alaska

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

No, this would be very illegal. You would be violating the copyright and also trademark on those characters: 
1) Only the creator of a graphic work (e.g. a character) owns the rights to use, adopt, publish, etc. it.
2) Any commercially valuable character will also be trademarked, and similarly, only the owner of the trademark has the right to use, adapt, etc. it.
If you do this and the companies owning the rights become aware of you, you could be sued for a great deal of money.


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