I wanted to check in with someone who knew the particular law which allows the use of an alteration of a familiar product name (as in the take-off of the Mountain Dew “Do the Muni” t-shirt). Our club is in the final stages of developing a logo and want to use another take-off of that nature. Any feedback is appreciated.
My understanding has always been as long as you change it up a bit and are using the logo in a different manner you can write it off leagally as a parody. This is how TV shows like southpark can make fun of so many famous brands. I really wouldnt be too worried about it
Does this mean that the wonders are going to be the clubs official name?
> parody is a protected form of free speech. you’ll be fine.
Are you prepared to respond to the cease and desist letter the
trademark owner sends you? If not, you might choose something else.
The problem is that even tough parody is protected speech, you might
have to be able to prove your logo is a parody. Under our system,
owners have to aggressively defend their trademmarks against
“dilution” or lose exclusive use of them.
Be careful if you use Elv*s. I think you can parody any other trademark on the planet but that one. You can’t use His face, but you can use that of a “Tribute Artist” (aka Impersonator) although they might try to bully you. They’re serious about “The King” around here.
I think the WonderBread folks won’t mess with you until you become a huge club with your own TV show or something.
My concern with using the spin off of the Wonder Bread logo is that we aren’t doing a parody like the Do the MUni t-shirt. We are looking for a logo that will be representing a legal entity, a Pennsylvania non-profit corporation.
Our club is going to become a non-profit corp. to help with protection of the club leadership in the case of litigation. This country (United States) has too many “stupid” cases in court. And some of them win!
That’s what insurance is for. Before you ever responded, I knew you were the driving force behind the question. This kind of issue is a real issue. The most common thing that would happen, is you would get a letter from one of their attorneys asking you to stop using the logo. You stop. The worst thing is they take you to court, and they guarantee you have no profit. They can’t go after you personally. That’s the reason for incorporation. The only way they could pierce the protective veil of the corporation is if they could prove you either were not a real corporation, or created the corporation with the sole intent of deception. I would go ahead with it. It won’t do you any good to ask the company, because they will say no. Once you have NP status though, it may make sense to have them sponsor you.
This is true. Where most companies would view the use of their product or parodies of the product (like Mountain Uni) as free advertising, Graceland, Inc. seems to guarding a gold mine with attack dogs.
[MemphisMudd, we should hook up some time and talk about Memphis and other things. Since I spent 30 years in Memphis and 10 of those years in the printing business, we probably know some of the same people.]
Sorry to jump in so late and all, but it occurs to me to ask why you want to do a parody logo for your group? Why not just create an original image for yourselves? I can’t figure the reason for wanting to align yourselves with a bread company (that’s what mimicking a logo does for you- gives you a visual connection with another group) unless you all work there or something.
These questions may sound dumb. But I work in advertising doing images and logos. Sometimes small companies do (or say they want to do) parodies and satires of previously existing material because of some sort of default mode in their creative process- it’s just easier to do sometimes. Though it’s easy to erase your own meaning in someone else’s original concept, some folks use parodies.
One example. A local real estate agent ran a bunch of ads where he had a milk mustache. The tagline was “Got Steve?” Milk doesn’t have anything to do with real estate, but the Got Milk ads were popular, so he did his parody, even though you had to somehow work out that he was a real estate guy. Now, if his name had been ‘Mike’- a word that at least looks like the word ‘Milk’, I suppose it might have been worth his time. Or maybe he was just mindlessly copying another real estate agent’s ad - an agent named ‘Mike’- and ol’ Steve just didn’t get it.
I dunno. Just my two cents worth of blather. I have a big project to do and I’m wasting my time and yours so I don’t have to start.
Great point, I did come up with something original…I think that it was just mediocre so I was hoping for something with more pop. Here’s a cut-off version of what I have that’s original. Maybe I’ll just rework it some and see what happens.