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socrateaser
socrateaser, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 38552
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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I am planning to establish a clothing line with my my own logo,

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I am planning to establish a clothing line with my my own logo, motto, etc. in California. When other companies use city, state and country names on their closing, for example: Perry Ellis America, Ted Baker London, Superdry Jeans Tokyo, Hollister Co., do they need permission from the respective cities, states, countries prior to using it on their apparel? If so, how would one go about doing that? If a company does not obtain permission when it is required, are there penalties?
Geographic locations cannot be protected by trademark. They are public domain and anyone can use them without any restriction whatsoever. Terms like America, London, Mt. Everest, etc. are all public domain.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
"ToCustomerquot;

I am interested in copyrighting an image and text that were used early in the 20th century as the coat of arms for British Punjab, India. I found the image online and it states the following:

"This image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired."

"This applies to Australia, the European Union and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 70 years."

Should I be able to copyright it through the USPTO?
Copyrights are registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. Trademarks and Patents are registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

You cannot copyright register a work that is already in the public domain. You can trademark a public domain illustration as a logo, if it has obtained some secondary meaning that gives it a distinctive quality suitable for use in identifying a brand in commerce. However, if you want to be safe, you will alter something substantial in the coat of arms, to make it unique again. Otherwise, you could confront unnecessary challenges in the future.

Hope this helps.


And, if you need to contact me again, please put my user id on the title line of your question (“ToCustomerrdquo;), and the system will send me an alert. Thanks!