LAW: Advertising Brand Names Used in Your Building Project: How to Avoid Trademark Infringement, By Parna Mehrbani

Every building project has several components: the land, the labor, and perhaps most importantly, the products used. Purchasers may be drawn to your project because of the quality of the products used to build and furbish it. Every product used in a building project likely has an associated brand name, slogan, or logo that is trademarked by its manufacturer. It is common to want to use these trademarked products to advertise the quality of your project as a whole. Could advertising for your building project raise trademark infringement issues?

In most instances, using a manufacturer’s trademark or service mark to identify or "name” the product will be fair use, even if the ultimate goal is to describe the whole building project. Fair use is limited to the extent that it cannot create a likelihood of confusion. The use cannot suggest sponsorship or endorsement by the trademark holder if there is none. Some courts place other limitations on fair use, for example, that the product is not readily identifiable without use of the trademark, and that the trademark may only be used to the extent that is reasonably necessary to identify the product.

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