Pitfalls of Trademark Use in Advertising and Promotion

Be cautious when using the trademarks of others… even when you are simply advertising a product or promoting something as mundane as the “Super Bowl” or “March Madness.”  Both of the terms used in the aforementioned example are federally trademarked and that trademark should be noted in any advertising or promotional material.

You should never use a trademarked name in an advertisement to describe a general style of item. In a recent case, Tiffany & Co. filed suit against Costco for advertising “Tiffany” engagement rings.  The rings Costco sells are not made by Tiffany;  Costco simply used the term to describe the style of ring and is now being sued for trademark infringement.

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