Trussville, AL asked in Trademark, Copyright and Intellectual Property for Georgia

Q: If a word or phrase is trademarked, is each portion/tense also trademarked?

As a very rough example, if the phrase "Tigers" is trademarked by/for Auburn University, I would assume one could not produce apparel in school colors with the phrase "Tigers". However, is the word "Tiger" used in that same way also covered? Or is the first case even trademarked? A blue "Tigers" on an orange shirt?

1 Lawyer Answer
Fritz-Howard Raymond Clapp
Fritz-Howard Raymond Clapp
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Beverly Hills, CA

A: Trademarks are words, phrases and/or designs that are used to indicate the source of specific goods or services. The objective of trademark registration is to avoid the likelihood of confusion by purchasers as to the source. If a trademark is used and registered in the singular form, the plural is "confusingly similar" thus may not be registered for the same goods or services; and if a trademark is used and registered in the plural, the singular may not be registered for the same goods or services.

The example you cite, TIGERS for apparel promoting a sports team, is registered both as a word mark and with a design. It would be infringed by apparel bearing the mark TIGER, with or without the color or design elements.

You are encouraged to seek the advice of counsel before using or seeking registration of a proposed trademark.

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