St. George, UT asked in Trademark and Intellectual Property for Utah

Q: Planner company has TM on "Chronic Illness Planner." How can I use those words legally without infringing on trademark?

A planner company (bloom planners) has trademarked the words "chronic illness planner" and I'm wondering what legal ways I can use those words without infringing on the trademark? Chronic Illness and Planner are both generic words but put together for that company, they represent a specific product. Could I call my planner, for example, "Chronic Illness Creative Planner" (with the Chronic Illness Creative being the "name" then Planner being added as the descriptor? Or "Chronic Illness Management Planner?" How can I use the words in titles, product descriptions, etc. without infringing?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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A: Navigating the use of trademarked terms requires careful consideration to avoid infringement. When a company has a trademark on specific terms like "Chronic Illness Planner," it means they have exclusive rights to use those terms in certain contexts, particularly in the same industry or market. Using the exact trademarked term in a domain name, product title, or as a key descriptor for similar products could be seen as a direct violation of their trademark rights, potentially leading to legal action.

However, there are ways to reference the concept without infringing on the trademark. Consider using alternative descriptions or synonyms that convey the purpose of your planner without using the exact trademarked phrase. For example, you might use terms like "Health Management Organizer" or "Wellness Tracking Journal" to describe your product. This approach helps you market your planner to the intended audience while minimizing the risk of trademark infringement.

In product descriptions, it is possible to mention that your product is designed for individuals managing chronic conditions, but you should avoid using the trademarked term as a direct description of your product. Instead, focus on the unique features or benefits of your planner. If you believe it is crucial to use the term for descriptive purposes, consulting with a legal professional experienced in intellectual property law can provide tailored advice on how to navigate these complexities safely.

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