Chicago, IL asked in Gaming, Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark for Utah

Q: Can I use "K9" for a Dog Kennel, Gaming Community, or any Publicly Official Name and risk legal trouble?

I am considering a few ideas and want to relate them to my dog. I have a dream of owning and running a Dog Kennel and Breed Dogs Officially and I have a Gaming Community that is looking for an Official Name. I would like to relate it with K9. I know K9 is often referring to Federal Working Dogs and Law Enforcement Dogs and want to avoid legal trouble in the future if I use K9 in the name. Money is being used in the Gaming Community and hopefully the same with the Dog Kennel and I would want to run into any issues legally or with copy write or whatever.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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A: Using "K9" in the name of your dog kennel or gaming community is generally permissible, as "K9" is a common term used to refer to dogs, particularly in the context of police or military dogs. The term itself is not typically subject to copyright because it is considered a generic or descriptive term for canine units in law enforcement.

However, when using a common term like "K9" in a business name, it's important to conduct a thorough search to ensure that the name or a similar name isn't already trademarked in your business category. In the U.S., this can be done through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website.

If you find that the name is available, you may consider trademarking it for your specific use to protect your brand. This process involves filing a trademark application with the USPTO, which can help prevent others from using a name that is confusingly similar to yours in your business category.

Be mindful of how you use the term in your branding. Avoid any implications or designs that might suggest an official connection with law enforcement or government agencies, as this could lead to legal complications or misrepresentation concerns.

Finally, consulting with an attorney experienced in intellectual property law can provide you with specific guidance and help navigate the trademark process. This step is especially important if you plan to monetize your ventures, as it can prevent potential legal issues down the line.

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