Using someone else’s trademark can be tricky. It is permitted in certain instances and under certain restrictions. Generally, I advise not using someone else’s trademark. This avoids the possibility of liability for trademark infringement. Even if you are not technically infringing their trademark. Why? Just having to respond to their lawyer’s threatening letters can be time-consuming and costly. For example, it can be expensive if you have to hire an attorney to deal with potential threats. 

It is best to promote your own trademark. Read more about Trademark Basics for Business Owners and What Should A Business Trademark. But sometimes you have to use someone else’s trademark. In those cases, it is best to obtain the trademark owner’s permission to do so. For example, if you are selling JEEP(R) parts, you obviously have to say that they are for a JEEP(R). In that case, it is best to get permission from Chrysler Corporation to use their trademark.

Often, large companies will have a trademark use policy on their website. Facebook has a page on their website explaining permitted uses (and restrictions) for displaying the Facebook logo on your website to point to your Facebook. YouTube does too, including what colors you can use (red – and not just any red, but their red).

Here is a general information article from the American Bar Association (ABA) that may also interest you before you use somebody else’s trademark.

If you have a specific question(s) about using somebody else’s trademark, a trademark attorney can evaluate that for you and give legal advice in the form of an opinion letter. The trademark attorney will likely charge a fee for doing so. The fee is often based on the scope of your specific question(s).

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