Is it legal to use another company’s name and trademark on my packageif itpromotes a product that is related to the other company’s?

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Is it legal to use another company’s name and trademark on my packageif itpromotes a product that is related to the other company’s?

I invented an ergonomic handle that connects only to Gillette fusion razors and I would like to know, is it legal for me to use Gillette fusion TM (print on my products package and for promotion purposes)? For example: iPhone cases manufacturers use Apple iPhone TM on their packages, usually it says on the package – “Silicon case for iPhone 3gs”.

Asked on September 5, 2010 under Business Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You can ONLY use someone else's trademark, service mark, etc. with that mark owner's persmission. Otherwise, you could be violating their trademark, in which case, you could be liable for that violation. The problem is that any usage of someone else's mark--or for that matter, product name or company name (even if not an actual trademark)--in a context that could make it appear as if your product is in some way connected to or endorsed by the other business can violate either trademark law specifically or unfair competition law more generally. This can be a tricky area, since even if you are not trying to give that unfair impression, if a company is jealous of or protective about their intellectual property, they may take any excuse or opportunity to at least send you a "cease and desist" letter. If you want to this, you might consider contacting their legal department about getting permission; or if you don't want to do that, at the least (before inveting alot of time and money), consult with an intellectual property attorney who can advise you in detail about whether and how you could do this safely.


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