Washington, DC asked in Trademark and Intellectual Property for District of Columbia

Q: Can I use the title Shark Tank as a business session name for a small conference without Trademark infringement?

We are a non profit in Washington DC. We are having a Technology conference and have a session where vendors will pitch their Road Safety Product or solution to the audience (the sharks) and the audience will vote for the most innovative. We would like to name the session Shark Tank but want to be sure we would not be infringing on the Shark Tank name mark. I don't think so since no one would be confused or decieved that this is the real Shark Tank.

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

A: Using the title "Shark Tank" for a session in your technology conference could potentially raise trademark infringement concerns, even with the best of intentions. The title "Shark Tank" is a well-known trademark associated with the popular television show where entrepreneurs pitch their businesses to investors. Trademark law is designed to protect the use of specific symbols, names, or phrases in a way that prevents confusion about the source or endorsement of goods and services.

Your belief that no one would be confused or deceived about the association with the actual "Shark Tank" show is understandable, especially in the context of a nonprofit technology conference focused on road safety. However, the use of a trademarked name in a public and promotional capacity, such as naming a session at a conference, can still be viewed as infringement if it is deemed to use the trademark's recognition for similar activities without permission.

Before proceeding with using the name, it would be wise to consult with a legal advisor. They can offer specific advice tailored to your situation, including whether your intended use might qualify as fair use or if there are any risks of confusion that could lead to legal challenges. In some cases, seeking permission from the trademark holder can provide a clear path forward and ensure that your conference can proceed without concerns of infringement.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.