Is this legal?
5 attorney answers
Tread Carefully with this one... You can be personally liable for your use of the mark if it is likely to cause confusion to a consumer. You should consult a trademark attorney and let them know what goods you plan on using in association with your proposed mark. Only then will a trademark attorney know whether the '921 registration will be of concern.
For example, if the '921 registration is for donuts and your proposed mark is for nuclear submarines, you MAY be able to proceed with the mark. (only your independent counsel can tell you this). But if you plan on selling donuts too, find a new mark faster than you can put the icing on...
I am not your attorney and your are not my client. Neither are you a client of my employing firm. This is merely an academic exercise to encourage a group discussion on some topics that arise during legal practice. You should contact and hire your own independent counsel to review your specific facts. Remember that Avvo has made it abundantly clear to you that attorney answers to questions are for general purposes only and do not establish any attorney-client relationship.
You may be infringing, yes, but no lawyer here can offer you the kind of specific and actionable legal advice you are seeking. We would need to fully understand the nature of goods and services provided by the mark holder you identify. Further it matters not whether you are operating as a INC, LLC or nothing at all, you would still be personally liable for the infringement should that be the case.
Your question raises a lot of flags so let me be blunt: it would be ultimately foolish to launch a crowdfunding platform with zero legal help and I assume you have no legal guidance because you are here asking a very fact specific legal question and you should be asking your own lawyer at this point. There are a number of legal considerations involved with your endeavor, but I will focus on the trademark here.
Whenever you endeavor into investing in a trademark it is very important that you conduct the proper clearance due diligence upfront and before you 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 detailed explanation of the due diligence process and a guide on how to choose a strong trademark.
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.
If the name is already trademarked, it could pose potential issues relating to trademark infringement. Of course, is there is likelihood of confusion between the two mark and they are similar in nature and channels of distribution. There may be several options to work around it. Your best bet is to consult with an intellectual property attorney to see what your options are if you decide to use the name.
Here is a general answer.
A U.S. registered trademark gives the owner the exclusive right to use it relative to certain goods and services. If you are using this person's mark in any way that would be likely to make someone think you are associated with them, you put yourself at risk for trademark infringement. If there is a likelihood of confusion, or if you are diluting the owner's mark, there could be infringement. The trademark owner can choose to enforce their trademark against you, or not.
It is a good start that you did your own trademark search, but you really need an attorney specializing in trademark law to help you understand what the search means. The peace of mind will be worth the time and money.
Please consult with an experienced attorney in your area.
This posting above is not intended to provide legal advice and no legal or business decision should be based on its contents. It is for general purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Please contact an experienced attorney in your area.