Medford, MA asked in Copyright, Products Liability, Intellectual Property and Trademark for New York

Q: Can I use 'But can you pay my bills?' on merchandise without infringing on 'Bills, Bills, Bills' by Destiny's Child?

I am a designer and what to create tshirts for women that say 'But...can you pay my bills, tho'?' or 'Can you pay my bills?'. It's for a line of clothing that I want to produce. Since it's a common phrase I figured it would not cause an issue but want to stay on the clear side.

Thanks for your help,

Lisa

1 Lawyer Answer
Tania Maria Williams
Tania Maria Williams
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • West Palm Beach, FL

A: There are a couple considerations for what you're trying to do but the main consideration is if you would be able to protect it even if you used it. You may be able to use the first phrase without infringing on Queen Bey but that doesn't mean someone else doesn't have a registration in that mark. You should do a comprehensive search to be safe. You also need to take particular steps when it comes to t-shirts to ensure that your specimen is not rejected by the USPTO. Feel free to email me at tania.williams@williamsfirmpa.com if you would like additional help in reaching your goals.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.