How to Get Permission to Sell Crafts With a Trademark

By Louis Kroeck

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

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.

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Negotiations

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.

Considerations

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.

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How to License a Jingle

References

Resources

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Trademark Owner's Responsibilities

Holding an official trademark registered with the federal government gives you the right to exclusively use your mark, but it does not come without responsibility. If you have a trademark registered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, there are ongoing requirements to meet in order to maintain and enforce its exclusive use.

How to Put a Trademark or Patent on a Toy

Trademarks and patents are valuable property rights that you acquire for your products, including toys. A trademark is a logo, word, phrase or design that you use to identify the toy. You acquire rights in the trademark as soon as you use the trademark -- registration is not required. A patent for your toy can only be obtained from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Can I Trademark Before I Sell the Product?

Since the federal trademark registration process takes several months, it makes sense to apply for trademark registration as soon as you design your mark while in the initial stages of product development. Your company can file a federal trademark registration application before you sell any products. You can also potentially secure common law trademark rights in your name, logo or slogan through actual use in the marketplace, such as pre-sale marketing. Under common law, a company automatically secures trademark rights once the original mark is used in association with its goods or services offered in the marketplace.

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