Can I use a picture of a microphone on my business card if I remove the brand name from the photo?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I use a picture of a microphone on my business card if I remove the brand name from the photo?

I am making the logo for my business card and would like to know if I remove the brand name from the picture of the microphone, can I use it in my business card?

Asked on April 7, 2019 under Business Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If the microphone is a "generic" one--that is, one that you cannot tell what brand it is even without the logo. If it is a distinctive or recognizable one, that you would be using someone else's identifiable property to promote your business without their permission, which is illegal; they could sue you for compensation (e.g. the value of a license to use the image) or a court order that you cease and desist doing this. But if the microphone is not identifiable, you could do this.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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