My band and I were looking to name our first album and we were gonna name it after now-retired NBA basketball player, Kobe Bryant. The name of the album was gonna be "Kobe". I was wondering if this could result in a lawsuit.
Depends. You're probably fine, but you should keep in mind that without a very intricate breakdown of all the details as to how, what, and where our plans are for this sort of thing, it's impossible to advise you properly. Some words of caution: (1) Don't make it seem like Kobe Bryant endorses the album in any way; (2) Don't make it seem like the LA Lakers endorse the album in any way; (3) Don't use his photo or likeness without his permission; and, (4) For what it's worth, you should also try to clearly make it NOT seem like he's associated in any way whatsoever with your album (so, obviously no photos, or even probably images of "black mamba" snakes).
Again, this one is going to depend on your particular circumstances and the manner of use you're dealing with. Best of luck, and at minimum I think you should consult with your own IP attorney who you can present your unique fact scenario to.
Answers provided by Mr. Robinson are for informational and educational purposes only and by no means constitute legal advice or counseling of any kind.
It really depends on how you market and publicize your album and what artwork you use. You can potentially have a right of publicity claim from your use of Kobe Bryant's name or likeness. Your best option is to obtain written permission. I suggest that you retain an experienced Trademark/IP attorney to look at your proposed Album and provide you with clearance, and advise you in confidence.
For more detailed advice, I recommend that you contact an experienced Trademark /IP Infringement attorney to advise you in confidence about your options and potential costs. Many IP specialty firms, like ours, offer an initial free conference by telephone, video conference or in person if you are available locally and would be happy to speak with you. Call and speak with an experienced Trademark Infringement attorney who can assist you.
Mr. Sack's postings on Avvo are of a general nature, based on the facts provided and are not intended to be taken as legal advice or to establish an attorney-client relationship.
If you use the name without reference to the NBA player you should be fine unless he has trademarked or used his name in connection with music in the past in which case you could not as it would be trademark infringement or unfair competition. You might want to see if Kobe would give you an endorsement but you need to approach him carefully.
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