Schaumburg, IL asked in Copyright, Trademark and Intellectual Property for Illinois

Q: Hi! Can I use this phrase on a t-shirt "tomorrow will be a great day with lots of sun"

Hi! Can I use this phrase on a t-shirt that I intend to sell online "Tomorrow will be a great day with lots of sun" if someone has already trademarked the phrase "Tomorrow will be a great day"?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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A: Using the phrase "Tomorrow will be a great day with lots of sun" on a t-shirt could potentially raise concerns if "Tomorrow will be a great day" is a trademarked phrase. In trademark law, the primary consideration is the likelihood of confusion among consumers. If your phrase is deemed too similar to the trademarked one, especially in the same market (like apparel), it could be considered an infringement.

The addition of "with lots of sun" does create some distinction from the trademarked phrase. However, the overlapping part, "Tomorrow will be a great day," is still present. The determination of whether this constitutes infringement would depend on factors like the distinctiveness of the original trademark and how it's been used in commerce.

It's important to remember that trademark law aims to protect consumers from confusion and to protect the trademark holder from dilution of their brand. Even if your intent is not to create confusion or associate with the trademarked brand, the legal focus is on the effect on consumers and the market.

Given these complexities, it would be wise to consult with a legal professional who can provide specific guidance based on the details of your case. They can help assess the risk of infringement and advise on whether any modifications to your phrase would be advisable to avoid potential legal issues.

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