How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Alex Reese Your Own Question

Alex Reese
Alex Reese, Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 2999
Experience:  Experienced in intellectual property law
Type Your Intellectual Property Law Question Here...
Alex Reese is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I was notified by Etsy that they removed some of my items per

Resolved Question:

I was notified by Etsy that they removed some of my items per request of an entertainment company. I was not provided with information as to what specifically about my listings was in violation. I requested this information from both Etsy and the other party and was not provided with it. I looked on the US Trademark Office website to see if the words or phrases ie. "Fanpire" on my items were owned by the party claiming to own them and the words or phrases were not as far as I could see owned by them at all. The items were described as being "inspired by (name of film)"  and listed as "xxxxxxxx inspired". Are they not supposed to provide me with the information as to what exactly about my listings was in violation? It doesn't seem fair they can just remove them without telling me the specific reason. Merely telling me that they were in violation does not seem adequate. As I stated before I looked these words or phrases up on the US Trademark Office website and they  did not appear at all. I was told by Etsy that the notice they recieved contained information regarding several sellers so they could not forward me a copy due to confidentiality reasons. Does listing the items and describing them as "inspired by xxxxxxxx) violate the Trademark rights of the party that requested their removal?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Expert:  Alex Reese replied 4 years ago.
It's hard to say definitively whether your use falls under permissible fair use or is TM infringement, but generally it is ok to reference a trademark to the extent necessary to describe your goods/services (called nominative fair use) but otherwise you need permission to use another's trademark. If you are using the mark to merely describe your goods (e.g. "works with Oral-B toothbrushes" or "10% stronger than Glad bags" then it can be permissible fair use) but if you are deemed to be using the trademark directly to promot your goods and attract attention then its TM infringement.....but many situations are hard to call)

With respect to Etsy, they essentially have their own terms of service and fighting with them won't do you much good, your rights are limited to their Terms of Use, and you probably don't have an affirmative right to get certain info from them or use their service, and they can ultimately pull your item for any reason if they wanted to...in other words they can do things that may seem unfair but there's nothing you can do about it practically.

for more info on TM and fair use see the links at:
http://coursecracker.com/4/7487/college/law/intellectual-property-law/links/index.html
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
So if I understand correctly it can be ok to advertise the item as being "great for any fan of xxxxx the movie"? But not to just add the Trademarked name in the listing title to draw more viewers to the listing?
Expert:  Alex Reese replied 4 years ago.
Essentially yes, you can use the TM only to the extent necessary to describe your product, be sure to see the section on TM Fair Use in the link I provided. You can use it in a descriptive/informative context but not in the TM context. Of course, you shouldn't use TM logos etc. unless necessary as well.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
There were no logos on my items and the word  is trademarked but not by this company and not for jewelry items as far as I could see on the US Trademark Office site and my item was jewelry.
Expert:  Alex Reese replied 4 years ago.
Well I don't see the TM infringement here, for several reasons, so you can plead your case to the website, but that's about all you can do practically speaking, further action against the site would not be worth the time & money to pursue. best of luck
Alex Reese, Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 2999
Experience: Experienced in intellectual property law
Alex Reese and 2 other Intellectual Property Law Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
< Last | Next >
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Alex Reese

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    2588
    Experienced in intellectual property law
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/sosolid007/2010-08-05_070536_Suitpic.jpg Alex Reese's Avatar

    Alex Reese

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    2588
    Experienced in intellectual property law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/scottymacesq/2009-6-10_221523_small.jpg Robert McEwen, Esq.'s Avatar

    Robert McEwen, Esq.

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    387
    Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/tswartz123/2010-02-08_225658_Tommy.jpg Thomas Swartz's Avatar

    Thomas Swartz

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    374
    Twenty one years experience as a lawyer in New York and New Jersey. Former Appellate Law Clerk.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/dkaplun/2009-05-17_173121_headshot_1_2.jpg Dimitry K., Esq.'s Avatar

    Dimitry K., Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    371
    I assist my clients with IP questions that arise in their daily course of doing business.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/personwilt/2010-1-10_164828_person1.jpg Wilton A. Person's Avatar

    Wilton A. Person

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    339
    MBA, Experienced and Knowledgeable in Intellectual Property Law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BA/bart0358/2012-1-23_232424_1056.64x64.JPG BartEsq's Avatar

    BartEsq

    Researcher

    Satisfied Customers:

    192
    Juris Doctor
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/IP/ipesq/2012-1-9_164431_RetouchPortraitHighResCopy.64x64.jpg ipesq's Avatar

    ipesq

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    134
    Specializing in patent prosecution, trademark and copyright registration/enforcement.
 
 
 

Related Intellectual Property Law Questions