Can I use the character? Do I have to get permission from Disney/Pixar? If so, how do I do that?
You cannot use any of Disney's characters as a logo without a license from Disney. You should contact their IP counsel in Burbank, CA.
The practical answer is don't do it without a license and choose some other image that is royalty-free. Even for a seemingly innocent use as what you propose, you could run into copyright/trademark infringement trouble, and the license cost may not be worth it for business cards. Consult counsel if you would like a more in-depth explanation (trademark dilution, etc.).
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Unlikely. Contact Disney, ask for Licensing, and they'll tell you what you can do. Also, see Intellectual Property counsel.
My comments have been made without discussion. An attorney client relationship has not been established. There may be conflicts which prohibit my providing you with specific legal guidance. Any contact with you beyond these few general words will start with a disclosure of opposing parties so that a conflict check can be made. You should discuss with an attorney.
You cannot do this without a license from Disney. I'm doubtful that they will agree to grant you a license, but you can contact an attorney to help you determine this.
Sometimes we don't get what we want. It's illegal trademark infringement to use their characters for commercial purposes like that. Disney has no reason to license to you to do this unless you will pay them a large royalty fee. I doubt you are in a position to do that since you are here asking for free advice. I suggest you use a different character . Good luck!
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.
The fact that you come here to ask this question tells us that you should absolutely get some proper legal guidance on your venture before making any further investment. I suspect that there are a whole host of legal issues that you will need clarification on (trademark, copyright, business/entity formation, tax, contracts/agreements, among others).
As all my colleagues note, you can never use the trademark and copyright protected material of another without permission. You will not under any circumstance even be granted the right to use the Disney characters to identify your business in commerce. So simply forget about that.
The good news is that you now get to think about your own distinctive trademark and logo. Your trademark will be one of if not the most important and valuable business assets you will have and you will ultimately spend more money in support if it than you will anywhere else (advertising, marketing, PR, branding, packaging, etc.). So you owe it to your business and yourself to make sure you handle this properly upfront and the first order of business always starts with a proper and comprehensive clearance.
Whenever you endeavor into investing in a trademark it is very important that you conduct the proper clearance due diligence upfront and before you start spending any money in support of it or submit an application to the USPTO. In the US, this means searching under both federal (USPTO) as well as common law because trademark rights stem from use in this country NOT registration. This means that acquiring a federal registration does not necessarily mean that you are not infringing on another's intellectual property. See the link below for a brief article from Fox News on the importance of the due diligence process and our overview guide.
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-Lapin, LLC on the basis of this posting.
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