Detroit, MI asked in Intellectual Property, Copyright and Trademark for Michigan

Q: Can I use a patented saying on my own design or do I have to buy the use of the saying?

2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›

A: Sayings or phrases themselves cannot be patented; patents cover inventions and processes. However, sayings can be trademarked or copyrighted, depending on the context. If a saying is trademarked or copyrighted, you would need permission or a license to use it in your design to avoid infringement.

David Aldrich
David Aldrich
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Shelton, CT

A: You are likely referring to a trademark, as phrases can't be patented. If the phrase is trademarked, you would need the permission of the trademark owner to use it on similar goods/services. If you plan to use the phrase for something very different, then you may not need permission. You should consult a qualified trademark attorney, who can help you determine if the phrase is indeed trademarked and/or whether you are free to use it in the way you want.

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