Ashburn, VA asked in Copyright for North Carolina

Q: I create a lamp that has the shape of a MacBook and has a logo that slightly differs than Apple's. Is this infringement?

Clearly Apple is not in the business of creating furniture such as lamps. So would I be safe?

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1 Lawyer Answer
David Allan King
David Allan King
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Licensed in North Carolina

A: The key standard for trademark law is the likelihood that consumers will be confused about who the product is coming from. Often, multiple companies with the same name can coexist because they are in different sectors. In other words, people aren't likely to think Apple got into the business of lamps and get confused about who they are buying the lamp from.

However, and I'm just brainstorming here, logos can also be protected by copyright. Certain free speech activities are protected, such as parodies, using the logo to talk about Apple, and so on. However, if the lamp isn't making any kind of commentary about Apple, and you are just copying and pasting their artwork onto your goods, then that could raise some copyright issues.

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