Intellectual Property Law

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I’m working on a project for a client in NYC that wants to…

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Hi, I’m working on a...
Hi, I’m working on a project for a client in NYC that wants to develop a slogan and logo for marketing purposes at an upcoming public event. The simple slogan is: ABC (heart) NYC, i.e. ABC with a heart visual between ABC and NYC. It will not be in the same font, format or color scheme of New York State’s I love (heart) NY registered logo. I’m looking for guidance on potential infringement and the likelihood of being sued. Thanks!
Submitted: 7 months ago.Category: Intellectual Property Law
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10/5/2017
IP Lawyer: Gerald-Esquire, Lawyer replied 7 months ago
Gerald-Esquire
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 5,174
Experience: Over 30 years of experience
Verified

Hello,
Thank you for using Just Answer. Please bear with me while I review your question. I will respond fully shortly. Thank you for your patience.

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IP Lawyer: Gerald-Esquire, Lawyer replied 7 months ago

Hello,

Thank you for your patience and thank you for using Just Answer. I want to provide you the best service I can. Please feel free to ask any follow-up questions you have.

I am an attorney with 30 years of experience; I hope to provide you information that will help you in resolving your question.

Certain basic symbols are NOT protected in and of themselves. It is only when they are connected to other visual cues that they may be able to form a recognizable and protected mark.

For example the symbol of a Crown and the Word King in and of themselves are not protected. But when Combined with a flame, smoke and a golden color and modified with the word Burger do you get a protected trade mark.

So to is the heart symbol. The heart symbol is so universally recognized that by itself it is a generic unprotected symbol.

So - if you have sufficiently differentiated your visual cues from the registered cues you should be perfectly fine in developing the logo.

This does not mean that you can not be sued. In the US a person can sue for the most minor imagined slights. And NYC is well known for suing over the I Heart NY logo. Personally I think they are over reaching, but they do have deep pockets to mount legal action.

See:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/30/nyregion/new-york-challenges-a-coffee-shop-logo.html

I hope the information I provide is useful to you. I want you to be comfortable and satisfied with my attempt to assist you. Please, if you have ANY follow-up questions, feel free to ask.

If you ask a follow-up question and I do not respond immediately, it is because I am temporarily unavailable. I promise to respond as soon as I return. Please note that I am often unavailable Friday evening through Sunday.

Please do not forget to give me a positive rating. It adds nothing to your costs but helps me greatly. Thank you.

If you are dissatisfied with my response, PLEASE let me know before giving me a negative review so that I may try to be of better assistance. Or, if you prefer, let me know and I can “Opt Out” and your question can be re-posted without additional cost to you. I will be fair to you, and only ask the same from you.

Good luck.

Please note: Information is educational and not given as legal advice. Only your local attorney can give legal advice. I can't establish or accept an attorney-client relationship with you. All posts are available for public viewing.

Kind regards,

Gerald

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Thanks very much Gerald. I’m still confused about one point. Are you saying that NYC believes that “I Love NY” is referencing NYC? And, if not, on what grounds can NYC sue based on what I’ve described above?
IP Lawyer: Gerald-Esquire, Lawyer replied 7 months ago

NY believes that "I Heart XYZ" is an infringement. They also believe that "I (any symbol) NY" is an infringement.

Although I think they are overreaching my opinion does not count.

Read the article that I linked to you. It describes in detail the type of actions they are taking.

Most people don't fight them because the cost is so high to do so.

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IP Lawyer: Gerald-Esquire, Lawyer replied 7 months ago

On the other hand if yu were to do the Boyfriend/Girlfriend heart they would have a difficult time making out a case:

ABC

+

NYC

inside the heart with the cupid arrow. That is so univerally generic they could not argue with a straight face any infringement.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Thank you. So we should be even safer since we won’t use “I” or “NY” but rather “ABC” and “NYC” with a completely diferent stylized heart. Correct?You’ve been very responsive and helpful! I’ll rate you well.Best,Doug
IP Lawyer: Gerald-Esquire, Lawyer replied 7 months ago

On the other hand if you were to do the Boyfriend/Girlfriend heart they would have a difficult time making out a case:

ABC

+

NYC

inside the heart with the cupid arrow. That is so univerally generic they could not argue with a straight face any infringement.

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IP Lawyer: Gerald-Esquire, Lawyer replied 7 months ago

I see that you are confused about some of this. I have submitted an OPTIONAL offer to you for a premium service phone call so that we can discuss your concerns more easily. It is purely optional and I do not want you to spend extra money if it is not necessary. We can continue to post at no additional charge.

Ask Your Own Intellectual Property Law Question
IP Lawyer: Gerald-Esquire, Lawyer replied 7 months ago

Actually, I need to go offline for a few hours.

If you have additional follow up I will respond when I return.

Otherwise, please do not forget to rate me.

Kind regards,

Gerald

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