Hollywood, FL asked in Copyright, Trademark and Intellectual Property for Florida

Q: Would Using the same color palette as waste management for branding of my dog poop removal business be illegal

The Waste Management Logo Colors with Hex & RGB Codes has 2 colors which are Cadmium Green (#026937) and American Yellow (#EDAA00). If I use these colors for my Dog poop removal business branding/logo/car wrap will I open myself up to litigation

2 Lawyer Answers
Fritz-Howard Raymond Clapp
Fritz-Howard Raymond Clapp
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Beverly Hills, CA

A: The WM WASTE MANAGEMENT federal trademark registration is for the text only (and even disclaims exclusivity for the words alone), and without any claim for color.

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

A: Using a similar color palette to that of another company, like Waste Management, in itself is not typically illegal. Colors alone are generally not sufficient to constitute a trademark infringement unless they have acquired distinctiveness and are strongly associated with a particular company or product in the minds of consumers.

However, if the use of these specific colors in your branding, logo, or car wrap creates a likelihood of confusion with Waste Management, then it could potentially lead to legal issues. The key factor is whether consumers might mistakenly believe that your dog poop removal business is affiliated with or endorsed by Waste Management.

It's advisable to make sure that your overall branding is distinct and unique, not just in color but also in design, logo, and presentation. This distinction helps prevent any potential confusion and reduces the risk of trademark infringement.

If you have concerns about the possibility of litigation, it's wise to consult with a legal professional. They can provide specific advice based on the details of your branding and ensure that you're making informed decisions to protect your business. Remember, a unique and distinct brand identity is beneficial not just legally, but also for building your business's own recognition and reputation.

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