If the initials of my company are trademarked by another company, can I still use the initials as part of my logo?

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If the initials of my company are trademarked by another company, can I still use the initials as part of my logo?

For example, if my company name was Done on Time. However, there was a company named DOT whose name is trademarked and they’re in a similar, although not identical business. Could I create a logo that has “DOT” in a box with “Done on Time” written under that box or would this be a TMK violation?

Asked on September 5, 2013 under Business Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

There is no way to answer your question in the abstract--it depends on how similar your mark is to the other mark, and also other factors such as how well known the other company is and whether you and they operate in the same geographic market(s) or otherwise sell to the same customers (since the core issue is likelihood of customer confusion). You should have some different alternative designs done, then bring them and a sample  of the other company's market to an intellectual property (IP) attorney, who can evaluate the marks for you and advise you as which are likely infringing, and which are not.


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