Can my trademark contain a trademarked word?

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We in recommend creating a unique trademark; it will have more chances to register. But what if you want to use a part of an existing trademark?

Speaking in general, the possible use of a trademarked word in your trademark depends on many factors:

  1. Is the trademark strong? Coined words are strong trademarks; Xerox, Kodak, Adobe, for instance. Descriptive words are weaker (“Fast Horse” for delivery services, the word “fast” describes a quality of the service and in some cases can be used in other trademarks). It’s less likely that a strong trademark will allow a similar trademark to coexist even for different services or products. 
  2. Is the trademark well-known? Even a descriptive well-known trademark will likely to be a problem for anyone using a part of the famous brand in their trademark.
  3. Are the services or products of the trademarks similar? A regular, not famous trademark can coexist with similar or even identical trademark, if it is for completely different products, like dog food and furniture.
  4. Is the owner aggressive? The key question! Some trademark owners act as if they have to attack each and every similar trademark they stumble on. I know that trademark owners must protect their marks, but what about common sense? A milk producer attacks a fisherman’s store, just because he can. What kind of confusion can be caused?

If you really wish to use a part of a trademark in your trademark, answer these questions. If you answer yes to any of them, then consider choosing another trademark. 

If you have any questions regarding your trademark — contact us.

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