Law around use of another brand name in advertising.

Hello,

We are an C-corp that makes an all-natural herbal deodorant specifically
for the yoga market. Bikram yoga is one of the most popular forms of yoga
that is known as the hot yoga where people do yoga in very hot
temperatures. We are thinking of an advertising campaign around the
premise ‘Don’t become a Bikram Bummer’ It will show people doing hot
yoga and smelling/dripping sweat. Then we come in with out product
natural yogi deodorant to fix it. Would this be legally allowed to use
‘Don’t become a Bikram Bummer’ when we do not own the TM or have any
association with them?

Asked on June 10, 2016 under Business Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You can't use another's trademark or tradename without their permission: having a trademark, tradename, etc. means--among other things--that you can control all use of that mark or name; if someone else uses your mark without your permission, they are violating your intellectual property and could be sued. Therefore, if Bikram an actual trademark or tradename, you can't use it in advertising, though you could use a generic descriptor for that form of yogo, like "hot yoga."


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