Q: If a company uses a new logo, can I take their old one and use it without permission?
I am trying to make merchandise to sell that has a company's logo on it. They did not give me their permission. Now they have a new, different logo. Can I use the old one for my merchandise?
A: It depends. If the company abandoned the trademark, the trademark becomes unenforceable. A trademark is presumptively abandoned if the trademark is not used for three consecutive years. However, the company owning the trademark can rebut the presumption by providing evidence that the trademark is still used in its goods. For example, if the company still has goods with old trademark being circulated in the market, the old trademark is still valid.
If you search a trademark from USPTO's office and the result shows the trademark status is DEAD, be careful! A dead trademark status may mean only the trademark owner fails to pay the maintenance fee, but the trademark may be still in use. Consult an attorney specialized in trademark before you use such trademark.
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