Q: I created a company that already had a trademark registered to a series of books. Could I create a trademark for apparel
Hello, I recently started a business in apparel. Initially, I had done a trademark search to see if it already existed so I could register it at a later date. When I did my research I saw that it was already registered under a series of books I didn't think this would be an issue. Later I read online after creating the company that registering under a series of books allows the person registering the word(s) to possibly start a brand from the book title. Now I would like to know if this could affect me. Could I get sued if I continue with the business? Any help would be appreciated
A: In the current climate of branding and merchandising, it is not uncommon for a popular book series to venture into the merchandise space. This merchandise will usually include at least t-shirts like those sold on harrypottershop.com. If you have found that the mark for the series of books is being used on apparel it is possible that you may receive a cease and desist letter regarding your use of the same mark on apparel. If the book series has not branched into brand merchandising you may not encounter a problem using the mark.
It is a good practice to get a comprehensive trademark search completed by an intellectual property attorney before you start an apparel line, particularly if you intend to use a mark as a house mark for your brand. An attorney will be able to counsel you on use of your mark and avoiding lawsuits.
A: will depend on the books, and whether the names have been registered for clothing.
Have a consultation with an attorney to understand better your options and risks.
A: A trademark registration protects the mark in that particular class, but a trademark examiner will also look at related classes and like Robyn said, it is not uncommon for a person with a mark in a book series to venture out into other merchandise. You could receive a cease and desist letter or nothing could happen if the person doesn't intend on entering the apparel space.
My suggestion would be to consult with an attorney who can assist you in rebranding. Why rebrand? Because when you pour all your heart and soul into your company you want to be able to protect that brand on a nationwide level and be able to monetize it easily. A properly registered mark will help you to do that.
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