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: 2997
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

American Girl (and doll names, such as Felicity) are registered

Resolved Question:

American Girl (and doll names, such as Felicity) are registered trademarks of American Girl LLC. Mattel Toys markets the products and bought the Pleasant Company, which launched the American Girl brand.

http://store.americangirl.com/agshop/static/home.jsp

I taught "American Girl Historic Doll Camp" for little girls aged 8 to 10, and charged the families $250/week/girl. I want to write a blog about what we did in this educational experience. May I use the trademarked names, American Girl and the doll names in the title and contents of my blog if I refer to them with "r with a circle around it" and acknowledge the registered trademarks on my blog? I don't know whether the names being registered means I can't use them, or that I need to acknowledge the ownership.

I may put videos about the copyrighted American Girl doll stories on my blog, and I might charge for downloading these videos, so I would be "riding on the name" this brand has established. I will also be showing the products of American Girl in the videos. The little girl arranged toys to go with each book, and told the stories; they created crafts, made snacks, danced and played with the dolls. There is educational value in what they did, but I plan to profit from selling videos about "AG Historic Doll Camp" if this can be done legally. Thank you.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Expert:  Alex Reese replied 3 years ago.
The key here is to not use the "American Doll" mark in the trademark context, but rather, to simply describe your goods or services. also, you cannot use the mark in a way that causes consumer confusion i.e. people thinking that you are affiliated with American girl or that your products/services are sponsored by or created by American Girl. there are instances of Fair Use where you can reference a registered mark to the extent necessary to describe your goods/services. for more info on TM law see http://coursecracker.com/4/7487/college/law/intellectual-property-law/forums/index.html (in particular see the 2nd link re Fair Use of TM)
Alex Reese, Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 2997
Experience: Experienced in intellectual property law
Alex Reese and other Intellectual Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
It sounds like it would help if I say on my blog or in communications that I am not affiliated with American Girl (AG), and my products are not sponsored by or created by AG. Is that correct?

I don't know what a "trademark context" is, but I haven't read the link on TM law yet--going now.
Expert:  Alex Reese replied 3 years ago.
yes, providing a disclaimer that states you are not affiliated with them is a good idea....and is commonly done
Alex Reese, Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 2997
Experience: Experienced in intellectual property law
Alex Reese and other Intellectual Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
The link and your answer were helpful, thanks. I want to act both fairly and legally in this matter, and I still don't quite understand this:

American Girl Dolls are very well known, specific dolls that are almost universally known by young girls. I am using these specific dolls to teach with, so it's an advantage to identify them (girls want to come to "doll camp" because we are using these dolls, specifically). In that case is "American Girl Doll" a descriptive term, or is it identifying the user's goods? I think the latter, which wouldn't be fair--I'm riding on the AG brand to get business. But I couldn't identify what I'm offering without naming the dolls, so maybe that's fair?

From the link you sent"
"Legal doctrine defines fair use of a trademark as the "reasonable and good faith use of a descriptive term that is another's trademark to describe rather than to identify the user's goods, services or business"
Expert:  Alex Reese replied 3 years ago.
yes, nominative fair use doctrine allows you to reference trademarks in order to describe your goods, but in such situations one has to use the mark only to the extent necessary to describe, and not use it to directly promote (sometimes those two get mixed and its hard to figure out where you stand) On the one hand you want to describe your goods/services and thats okay, but the nature of your business is based on those dolls, and that may in itself be a confusion issue....at the end of the day its the consumer confusion factor that will be the key issue.
Alex Reese, Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 2997
Experience: Experienced in intellectual property law
Alex Reese and 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.