Brooklyn, NY asked in Trademark for New York

Q: How do I legally use an already trademarked character?

I'm Looking to use a Disney character. Rather a warner brother character for a piece in my clothing line

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2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
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A: To legally use a trademarked character, such as a Disney or Warner Bros. character, you typically need to obtain permission from the company that owns the intellectual property rights. This usually involves securing a licensing agreement. Here are some steps you can take:

1. Identify the owner of the character: Determine which company owns the rights to the character you want to use (e.g., Disney or Warner Bros.).

2. Contact the licensing department: Reach out to the company's licensing department to inquire about the possibility of using their character on your clothing line. You can usually find contact information on their official website.

3. Prepare a proposal: You may need to submit a formal proposal outlining how you intend to use the character, the products you plan to create, and the potential benefits for the company.

4. Negotiate terms: If the company is interested in your proposal, you'll need to negotiate the terms of the licensing agreement, including royalty rates, territory, duration, and any specific requirements or restrictions.

5. Sign a licensing agreement: Once you've agreed on the terms, you'll sign a licensing agreement that grants you permission to use the character in the specified manner.

Keep in mind that obtaining a licensing agreement can be a complex and costly process. Large companies like Disney and Warner Bros. are often very protective of their intellectual property and may not grant permission easily. They may also require substantial licensing fees and royalties.

If you are unable to secure a licensing agreement, you cannot legally use the trademarked character in your clothing line, as it would infringe on the company's intellectual property rights.

Giselle Ayala Mateus agrees with this answer

Giselle Ayala Mateus
Giselle Ayala Mateus
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: In simple terms, using a trademarked character without permission is like using someone else's property without asking. To legally use it, you need to get permission from the owner, usually through a license agreement. This ensures you're following the rules and respecting their rights.

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