Q: I’m producing a fashion exhibition with a vintage privately-owned collection. Do I need a trademark license?
The exhibition venue is available to the public, but the admission is ticketed. The fashion brand is a well-know public-facing entity, though, they do not have any affiliation with this exhibition. I am marketing and advertising this as an “honorary tribute and retrospective” and am making sure not to hold the fashion brand in a negative light. I will not be monetizing trademarked assets — only ticketing the viewing of privately owned assets I possess.
A: Use of the trademark to identify the goods exhibited, so long as they are authentic and not counterfeit, is allowable and referred to as "nominative fair use" of the brand. It would be prudent, however, to state in promotional materials that the exhibitor is not affiliated with the brand owner so that there is no likelihood of confusion.
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