Asked in Intellectual Property

Q: Hi, Is it possible to use other brands' products for contests/quizzes purposes?


My friend and I have the idea of creating a website directed toward the creation of daily or weekly contests, in form of multiple questions quizzes . In this concept a prize would be at stake (eg. computer) and in order to win the prize the participants will enter the contest in exchange for a fee and be tested on their knowledge on this particular prize. Thus, we were wondering if it was legal to use other brands' products to such end and if it isn't is there a way to get an authorization?

Thank you in advance for you answer.

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1 Lawyer Answer

A: Hey there! The answer to your question is "probably." There is actually a famous case involving the band "New Kids on the Block" that addresses this exactly question. The case was when the band sued a magazine for using their trademarked band name in a pop-culture quiz. The title of the quiz was "who is your favorite new kid on the block?" The court found that the use the trademark in this way fell into a new category of fair use called "nominative fair use." This new standard of fair use required a new test, which has three parts.

(1) The product or service in question has to be one that would be hard to describe without using the trademark; (2) you only use enough of the mark to identify the good or service; and (3) you can't suggest that you are endorsed or connected with the goods or service of the trademark holder.

If you can satisfy those elements, you should be good! If you need more specific advice, contact me for a consultation! Hope this helps.

1 user found this answer helpful

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