Warrington, PA asked in Copyright and Trademark for Pennsylvania

Q: I want to use the title "Bands Against Humanity" for a marching band field show. Is that brand confusion with the game?

We are doing a marching band halftime show in 2020 that is heavily based in satire. I'd like to use the title "Bands Against Humanity" as it perfectly describes the "satire" and humor elements of our theme. I reached out to the game manufacturer for Cards Against Humanity and they said I could not use that title as it would be a trademark infringement..." cannot use Cards Against _______" or "______ Against Humanity". Given that we're in a completely different forum (a marching band show and not a board/card game), are they accurate in that's a trademark violation?

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2 Lawyer Answers
James D. Williams
James D. Williams
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Richmond, VA

A: Yes, if they have a registered trademark, then it would include slight variations on it. Trademarks are typically limited to specific goods and services as they are listed within the application. However, by hosting this type of event, CAH could make a claim that you are diluting their brand name or tarnishing it, and you could be sued. There are countless events that go under the radar, but considering you have contacted the CAH staff, then I would say changing the name is the best idea. You've basically put them on notice to monitor your performance for infringement. Besides, I'm sure you can come up with another thrilling and exciting name. Here are some less exciting but probably less likely to stir infringement claim names ; "Bands will be bands," "It's a Marching Band, Really," "This Title Is Not A Trademark," etc.

Marcos Garciaacosta agrees with this answer

Marcos Garciaacosta
Marcos Garciaacosta

A: Pick something else. First you have put them on notice. Second they could claim they are a famous brand, like Coca Cola, so even if the service, product is different, it may cause confusion.

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