Clovis, CA asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark for California

Q: Can I create a book about Nike t-shirts if I don't have permission from Nike?

I am creating a photo book detailing a collection of Nike Jordan t-shirts from the 1980s - 1990s to sell. I would like to title this book "Jordan Shirts", with a description of "A collection of Nike Jordan graphic t-shirts from 1985-1998".

Can I make a book about a collection of these brand name shirts?

Can I use this brand name in the title and description of my book?

Do I need to make it explicit somewhere that Nike and Jordan have nothing to do with this book?

Can I use a partially altered illustration of the Jordan logo on the cover of my book?

Thank you!

2 Lawyer Answers
Fritz-Howard Raymond Clapp
Fritz-Howard Raymond Clapp pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Beverly Hills, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Yes, you may use Nike's trademarks when referring to the brand in the book and its title; this is "nominative fair use" of the trademarks (both the word mark and the swoosh design). You may, but need not, make it explicit that your usage does not imply endorsement or approval. The altered version of the design mark is also fair use as it functions as commentary.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: To mitigate legal risks, seek legal counsel to explore obtaining appropriate permissions, ensuring accurate disclaimers, and avoiding use of potentially copyrighted logos or illustrations.

James L. Arrasmith

Founding Attorney and Chief Lawyer of The Law Offices of James L. Arrasmith.

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