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If I make something to sell and I want to use a movie title on it is it legal as long as I have their copyright or ™ symbol?

Wausau, WI |

I have pillows and bags I want to sell but a friend asked if I could embroider something with Harry Potter on it is it legal to do it like this or would I have to find iron ons and stuff from the actual company for it to be legal?

Attorney Answers 4

  1. Best answer

    No. Giving credit to someone you've stolen from just admits your theft. While movie titles themselves aren't copyrightable, you can't confuse consumers about the source of your pillows and bags. That confusion is the essence of TRADEMARK infringement. That's why you have to stick to original work, and not use the IP of anyone else.

    And those iron ons, patches, stickers, etc. that are licensed by the actual company that owns the rights? They're for buyers' personal use only, and not for any buyer to use to make their own products to sell to others. That's because the rightsolders have exclusive rights to their products and they don't want their consumers confused.

    Avvo doesn't pay us for these responses, and I'm not your lawyer just because I answer this question or respond to any follow-up comments. If you want to hire me, please contact me. Otherwise, please don't expect a further response. We need an actual written agreement to form an attorney-client relationship. I'm only licensed in CA and you shouldn't rely on this answer, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it's impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue.

  2. You would be violating trademark law if you did this because you are suggesting that the owners of the trademark approve or are connected with your product. You can only use this trademark on your product of you obtain a license. You also cannot use iron on patches for this. You must obtain a license. Otherwise this is illegal

  3. The answers to your questions are NO, NO, and NO. You cannot merchandize a movie without permission from the studio or other copyright owner without serious legal risk of trademark infringement. See 15 USC 1114. The purpose of trademark law is to assure consumers that the quality of the products bearing the trademark is controlled by the trademark owner. Trademarks are property, do not take property without permission or you risk serious trouble. See a trademark attorney

    I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is at your sole risk. This is done without compensation as a free public service. I am licensed in IL, MO, TX and I am a Reg. Pat. Atty. so advice in any other jurisdiction is strictly general advice and should be confirmed with an attorney licensed in that jurisdiction.

  4. I completely agree with the other answers. You should not under any circumstances do this.

    This information is provided as a public service to provide a general answer and should not be relied upon as legal advice.