Granger, IN asked in Copyright for Indiana

Q: Is the word Solo trademarked to where I can't use it?

I want to create a record company and I want the name to be Blue Solo Records. I'm not sure if the word solo is trademarked so am able to use the name and make t-shirts with the name.

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1 Lawyer Answer
John B. Hudak
John B. Hudak
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Milford, CT

A: Trademark rights are obtained by using the mark to identify the source of goods or services. Federal registration does not make a particular word, phrase, or symbol a trademark. The use of the trademark makes the particular word, phrase, or symbol a trademark. One can commit trademark infringement if they use a mark, which is the same as -- or similar to another mark, that will cause likelihood of confusion to a potential consumer, that both marks are indicating a common source of the goods/services.

Picking a trademark can be hard because so many people end up picking something similar to what others are already using. There are only so many words in the English language.

Consider getting a professional trademark search to decrease the risk that your new trademark will infringe on another’s trademark.

Don’t be discouraged in what you are trying to do, with the above mentioned negatives. Many others start new companies and move forward with their business plans. You should determine what is acceptable and know potential risks. Having an intellectual property attorney review the specific facts to your situation is many times a prudent thing to do to analyze the situation. That said, you can’t prevent someone from suing you, even if they don’t have a good case.

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