In order to get permission to sell crafts using the trademark of a third party you will need to negotiate a trademark license with the holder of the appropriate trademark. Some organizations may be happy to license their marks for use free of charge provided that you identify the appropriate source of the trademark. Other organizations may require that you provide them with a sample of the crafts you intend to sell or other guarantees that you will not misuse their mark.
Trademarks are used to protect the goodwill associated with a product or service and to correctly identify the individual or organization providing those goods or services. Because your use of a trademark on a craft could create consumer confusion as to the source of the craft, it is important that you get permission to use a third party trademark before using a trademark on your crafts as you could face charges for trademark infringement or trademark dilution.
Locate the Owner
The best way to begin the process of getting permission to sell crafts with a trademark is to identify the correct owner of the trademark. In some instances, the registration for the mark you want to use may have lapsed so you will not need to actually negotiate a license. Search for the trademark at the United States Patent and Trademark Office's search system located in the resources section. You may also search for the trademark in any applicable state trademark databases.
Once of you located the correct owner of the trademark you wish to use, determine if they have a trademark licensing office or an attorney of record. Contact the attorney or trademark licensing office and determine if the organization has a standard protocol for licensing their trademark for uses such as crafts. If the organization does not have a protocol regarding trademark licensing, ask if they would be amenable to a proposed licensing agreement and have a licensing agreement prepared by a trademark attorney. Many large organizations have trademark licensing departments that regularly handle these types of requests.
Trademark licensing agreements often contain terms protecting the holder of the trademark and limiting the licensee's use of the mark to a specified purpose. You should have designs and examples of your proposed craft ready for disclosure as the organization may have an approval process. Additionally, the organization may require that you sign a royalty agreement guaranteeing them royalties on each craft you sell.
- Qoop: Copyright and Trademark Permission Request Sample Form
- St. John Ambulance: Request for Permission to Use Trademark
- University of Tennessee: Office of Trademark Licensing
- University of Texas: Office of Trademark Licensing
- University of North Caroline Charlotte: Licensing FAQs
- United States Patent and Trademark Office: Trademark Electronic Search System
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