Lets say I want to get into stock photography taking pictures of airplanes and selling them. My photos themselves don't show logos of the aircraft manufacture, but in my description or title of the stock photo, can i say "Boeing 747 Landing" or something to that effect?
If you use someone else's trademark to sell goods/services, without permission, you may be liable for trademark infringement.
If the trademark is famous, you may be liable for trademark dilution.
There may be arguments of fair use, deminimis use, and/or first amendment arguments which can be made and which may or may not succeed depending on all of the facts.
You should discuss with an intellectual property attorney licensed in Colorado in a private consultation.
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It is probably nominative fair use to say what you need to in order to identify the subject of the photo. Don't say more, don't use a logo, and don't imply sponsorship or approval by the trademark owner.
This answer is written to explain situations which may come up involving intellectual property law issues. It does not give specific legal advice about specific fact situations. If you have a specific fact situation in mind you should ask for professional legal advice about the relevant facts. Seemingly minor changes in facts may change a legal opinion dramatically. Space here does not permit an explanation of all the variables in complex legal areas. Dave Brezina is an Illinois lawyer and his profession is regulated under the authority of the Supreme Court of Illinois. Although he represents clients nationally and internationally, his law practice is performed in Illinois and is not subject to regulation by other states. Dave Brezina is also a Registered Patent Attorney and a patent practice is regulated by the US Patent and Trademark Office a Federal agency and is not subject to regulation by the states. The firm, Ladas & Parry, LLP, has attorneys admitted and offices in at least Illinois, New York and California. Finally, do not post confidential information. There is no an attorney client relationship created simply by correspondence or communication with the author of this site.
You can take photos of anything you like. It matters not that their logos show in the picture. For example, I can purchase a licence to use a photo of Time's Square in NYC, which of course if likely to have a 100 trademarks and logos within it right?
What matters in this context is how that image is ultimately used by whoever purchases the license. If they use it in an infringing way that presents for example a false association with say Boeing then that can be a problem. But if they are using the image to illustrate their article on Boeing's software problem then there is no issue with that.
That said, there is no issue with accurately identifying what your image is of exactly so long as you are not in any way presenting a false association.
If you need clarification, I suggest that you consult with a lawyer in private and discuss your objectives in more detail. You can start by calling around to several for a free phone consultation, get some insights then pick the best fit to work with.
DISCLAIMER: this is not intended to be specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. No attorney-client relationship is formed with the law firm of Natoli-Legal, LLC on the basis of this posting.
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