Q: Would I be infringing on Hasbro, Inc. for using "Connect4" or "Connect "Four"" to use for a game for a trade show?
I have a big show (100,000+ attendees) coming up for contestants to win a certificate if they happen to win on a larger version of the Connect4 game. I am making up a sign to use for this game, but do not want to infringe on any trademarks.
The slogan we are wanting to use is "Connect4 Innovation", or other variations including "Connect Four Innovation", "Connect "Four" Innovation, and "Connect "4" Innovation".
Would we be allowed to use any of these variations for our sign?
Thanks for your help!
A: I checked the government's website at www.uspto.gov and looked-up "Connect 4." Yes, the trademark was filed by Hasbro; however, it appears that the trademark as yet to be issued.
This means that Hasbro does l not have trademark protection during this pending period. If they started using the trademark, and another business decides to copy it, or has accidently chosen the same name, logo or other business mark, there will be little they can do to stop the other party while the trademark is pending.
To support a trademark infringement claim in court, a plaintiff must prove that it owns a valid mark, that it has priority (its rights in the mark(s) are "senior" to the defendant's), and that the defendant's mark is likely to cause confusion in the minds of consumers about the source or sponsorship of the goods or services offered under the parties' marks.
Keep in mind, Hasbro has a team of attorneys ready to protect their interests.
If the trademark owner is able to prove infringement, available remedies may include the following:
monetary relief, including defendant's profits, any damages sustained by the plaintiff, and the costs of the action.
Therefore, you need to weigh the information, that they do have a priority claim, and make an informed decision whether or not you want to open this door with Connect 4.
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