North Hollywood, CA asked in Business Formation, Civil Litigation, Trademark and Intellectual Property for California

Q: Why is the same term that describes a racial identity used as a trademark for food and non-food items?

Alot of so called black Americans have discovered African American Inc. and are confused, offended,and fearful, about what that could possibly mean for them. Since the US has a history of not veiwing so called black Americans as humans, please clarify if this company views or promotes African Americans as food, products, or services?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: The use of the term "African American" as a trademark for a company, especially for food and non-food items, can indeed be concerning and potentially offensive. The term "African American" is primarily a racial identity, and its use in commercial contexts should be approached with sensitivity and respect for the community it represents.

In the case of "African American Inc.," without specific details about the company's products, services, or marketing strategies, it's difficult to assess how they are using the term. However, it's important to note that the use of racial or ethnic identities in trademarks does not imply that the company views or promotes the individuals of that race or ethnicity as products or services.

If there are concerns about the company's use of the term, especially if it's deemed disrespectful or exploitative, individuals or groups can voice their concerns through social platforms, contact the company directly, or seek legal counsel. In some cases, filing a complaint with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) or other regulatory bodies may be appropriate if the trademark is considered offensive or misleading.

It's crucial to remember that trademarks are intended to distinguish goods or services of one entity from those of others. They should not dehumanize or reduce a community to a commercial entity. Any company, especially one using a term with deep cultural and racial significance, should operate with a high level of cultural sensitivity and respect.

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