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If a real person's name is trademarked, does that prevent you from using that name in headlines or blogs? For example, Morgan..

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If a real person's name is trademarked, does it prevent you from using that name in headlines or blogs? For example, Morgan Freeman is trademarked. So if I blog "Morgan Freeman is the greatest actor ever." Or, Morgan Freeman is the worst actor ever," is that legally violating trademark? After all, many blogs use their posts to bring in traffic to make income via advertisements. If you really want to avoid infringement should you write "Morgan Freeman® is the most interesting actor ever."

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Attorney answers 4

Posted

No, the fact that a real person's name is trademarked does not prevent you from using that name in headlines or blogs IF you are truly commenting on or analyzing the person's work, etc. versus just posting the name to drive business to the website. For a more detailed discussion about using trademarks, go to the article @ the link below.

Any answer or other information posted above is general in nature and is not intended, nor should it be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the posting attorney, and you are urged to engage a qualified attorney who is licensed to practice in the relevant jurisdiction.

Posted

If you went on stage or engaged in other entertainment as "Morgan Freeman" that would be trademark (actually service mark) infringement. Writing about a product or service provider in a blog is not infringement unless what you wrote implied an endorsement.

The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advise" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.

Posted

No, this is called "nominative fair use". You have to use the name in order to identify who you are talking about, so that is not illegal. Where you would run into trouble is if you were trying to imply an endorsement or affiliation.

So far, this is free to you. Until you pay a fee, I am not your lawyer and you are not my client, so you take any free advice at your sole risk. I am licensed in IL, MO, TX and am a Reg. Pat. Atty. so advice in any other jurisdiction is general advice and should be confirmed with an attorney licensed in that jurisdiction.

Posted

The "Fair Use" doctrine would allow you to engage in this type of blogging. Comparisons and reviews would be included.

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