Law around use of another brand name in advertising.

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Law around use of another brand name in advertising.


We are an C-corp that makes an all-natural herbal deodorant specifically
for the yoga market. Bikram yoga is one of the most popular forms of yoga
that is known as the hot yoga where people do yoga in very hot
temperatures. We are thinking of an advertising campaign around the
premise ‘Don’t become a Bikram Bummer’ It will show people doing hot
yoga and smelling/dripping sweat. Then we come in with out product
natural yogi deodorant to fix it. Would this be legally allowed to use
‘Don’t become a Bikram Bummer’ when we do not own the TM or have any
association with them?

Asked on June 10, 2016 under Business Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You can't use another's trademark or tradename without their permission: having a trademark, tradename, etc. means--among other things--that you can control all use of that mark or name; if someone else uses your mark without your permission, they are violating your intellectual property and could be sued. Therefore, if Bikram an actual trademark or tradename, you can't use it in advertising, though you could use a generic descriptor for that form of yogo, like "hot yoga."

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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