Anaheim, CA asked in Copyright and Trademark for California

Q: Can I use the name “Lakers” on purple t-shirts?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II
  • Newport Beach, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Until you get caught, then you have to pay licensing fees and have to disgorge all your profits.

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Michael Gerity
Michael Gerity
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Phoenix, AZ

A: This is a trademark issue, and the Lakers franchise has well-established trademarks on the Lakers name for use with clothing and other sporting goods. The question when analyzing trademark infringement is whether or not there is a reasonable likelihood of confusion as to the source of the goods in question. It should be pretty clear that a possible buyer for a tee-shirt would might think that a purple shirt bearing the word "Lakers" was produced by the actual franchise, and not by you, so infringement is clear. In fact, even if you argue that you don't use the logo and you make it clear that you aren't affiliated with the actual Lakers, they would likely have a separate trademark dilution claim.

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