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

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 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.

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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