Intellectual Property Law
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Trademark law is meant to protect consumers from confusion in the marketplace. The goal is to avoid a consumer thinking they are buying a product from company A (MacGyver) that was really put out by (SurGyver). That's the general theory of trademark law. Now let's review how it may be applicable to you
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a bright line rule about trademark infringement. It is done on a case by case basis. In addition to that, one cannot predict what another company might.
In your case however your proposed mark is different from the original mark. In addition, the original company that produced the show MacGyver was not in the business of making survival kits. So though there could be possible confusion whereby someone buying a survival product may think that it was somehow related to the show, in general if you don't reference the show then you would have a good case why your products are 1) not creating confusion in the market place and 2) not dilutive on the MacGyver brand.
In fact if ever you are accused of infringing in addition to the above defense one additional defense would be that the phrase has become a generic description of a person who is resourceful.
Finally, as far as a law suit against you being credible or not, unfortunately the threshold for commencing a law suit is very low. Sometimes it is the strategy of plaintiffs with means to commence law suits with the knowledge that their case it not strong but with the hope that the mere facts they enough money to litigate will cause the other side to give up.
In conclusion, I hope this has not discouraged you from doing this business. Granted there is risk associated with this however you will never know until you try,
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So, if I wanted to protect myself even further, could I apply for a Trademark of say, "Gyver" or SurGyver" in the industry of survival products?
A) Would the trademark office even approve a trademark request such as this?B) Would having my own trademark add any further protection in case I was ever sued for infringement?Thanks for the help.
Answers: A) the trademark office may approve this, so if you don't try you will never know...
every application goes through an examination by the USPTO as well as a short publication period that allows 3rd parties to voice their opposition. So there are no guarantees but as noted if you don't try you will never know
B) Having your own trademark would absolutely help you to protect your mark as having an issued trademark will be a legal presumption that your trademark is legal. It would take a whole lot of costly legal maneuvering to cancel an issued trademark. It is one of the most cost effective protections available under the law and I highly recommend that you seek one yourself.
I trust this answered your questions
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