Q: Good afternoon, I am starting a company called MARINEFIT. Could I get sued for using MARINEFIT or is it okay?
I am a Marine and a certified personal trainer, I named my business Marine fit. My business makes money and I am currently turning it into a official LLC. I should have the LLC done in a few days. I read on Marines website they do not authorize the use of USMC or their logos/brands for other businesses. Would I be okay because it’s all one word? Also, would I be okay because MARINE has multiple meanings such as aquatic? I also plan on using my experience as a Marine to advertise but I know that’s legal but will that make it easier for me to get sued or in trouble for using the term MARINEFIT (all one word)?
A: Hi there,
First, thank you for your service! Second, good on you for asking these questions ahead of time! Third, congrats on starting your business!
To the merits ...
Your risk of upsetting the USMC to the point of eliciting a Cease and Desist letter here is relatively low. But I would need to see the over-all "look and feel" of how the mark is being used. You will want to avoid any other semblance of association with the USMC; and that inquiry is not limited to just using the USMC intellectual property.
There are a lot of ways to cause consumer confusion, and using trademarks is just one of them. I strongly implore you to reach out to an IP attorney to give you a thorough risk assessment. I can give you a free consultation if you are so inclined.
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