Can I use competitor trademarks in my branding?


I would like to use the following in the branding for my startup software product. Do I run the risk of being sued by my competitors?

Hello. My Family needs , < feature 1 > like < competitor trademark 1>, < feature 2 >
like < competitor trademark 2 >, & < feature 3 > like < competitor trademark 3 >
....all in ONE place.

If your Family does too...
Welcome to < my product name >

Marketing Legal Trademark

asked Aug 24 '12 at 01:42
6 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll

1 Answer


I think the sort answer is: Yes you do run the risk of being sued (it might not be that the court rules to that end, the ruling can be that you have done nothing wrong and was allowed to do it).

You are allowed to mention competitors and trademarks if that is part of Comparative advertising do note that any claims you make about them or the comparison with there product must be accurate and true (and the competitors must feel the same - or they can sue)

If a company makes truthful factual claims in a comparison of its goods or services to its competitors, the company can use comparative advertising and will have arguments against any claims of trademark infringement or unfair competition. However, each comparative advertisement should be carefully reviewed from a competitor’s point of view and should be reviewed often to make sure all facts are still relevant.

If the company suing you will win or you will is a harder question. See for instance this about how advertisers and Google have been sued for using trademarks in adwords. Another article The part (in US law) that was used to sue is

Trademark law under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. Sections 1114 and 1125,
imposes liability for unpermitted “use in commerce” of another’s mark,
which is “likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to
deceive,” regarding “the origin, sponsorship or approval of his or her
goods [or] services . . . by another person.”

In that case the claim was dismissed at the end (but they were still sued)

However note that you may (soruce )

Not necessarily. A company can legally use a competitor's mark or brand as necessary to fairly and accurately describe its products, or to fairly and accurately compare its products and services to those of the competitor. What it cannot do is market in a way that leads to a likelihood of consumer confusion about the source or affiliation of its products or its competitor's products.

answered Aug 24 '12 at 17:16
256 points

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