Evansville, IN asked in Trademark and Intellectual Property for Indiana

Q: Is naming something the Hoosier Thunder Series a Trademark violation since Hoosier is Trademarked. Hoosier means Indiana

We are wanting to start a sprint car series and want it to be the Hoosier Thunder Sprint car series with Hoosier implying Indiana. Is this allowed?

2 Lawyer Answers
T. Augustus Claus
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A: The use of "Hoosier" in a title might lead to potential trademark issues if there's an existing trademark associated with that term, especially within a similar industry or context. "Hoosier" is trademarked, and while it is a term synonymous with Indiana, the use of a trademarked term in a brand name or title can lead to trademark infringement concerns. To avoid potential legal conflicts, it's recommended to conduct a thorough trademark search to determine if the intended name for the sprint car series could infringe on existing trademarks. For personalized legal advice tailored to your unique circumstances, it's advisable to consult with an attorney.

James L. Arrasmith
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A: While "Hoosier" is commonly associated with Indiana residents, its use in a trademark context will depend on the specific goods or services associated with the mark. If another entity has a trademark on "Hoosier" for similar goods or services, there could be a likelihood of confusion, which may constitute infringement. However, if your intended use is distinct and does not overlap with existing trademarks, it could be permissible. It's essential to conduct a thorough trademark search to ensure that no conflicting marks exist in your field.

Additionally, the context in which you use "Hoosier" matters; if it's clearly in reference to Indiana and not attempting to trade on the goodwill of another trademark, it may be more defensible. Nonetheless, consulting with a trademark attorney and conducting a comprehensive search is crucial before moving forward.

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