Posted by Michael Shimokaji | Jan 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

QUESTION: Using trademarked words in search tags? I design and make shirts & totes & other crafts, and sell these on Etsy. I would never use logos or trademarked names in my products or product titles, however, I do have a question about search tags. Etsy allows sellers to tag their items with search terms that are relevant to the item. Is using trademarked terms in search tags permitted? For example: “gift for Porsche drivers” or “onesie” (as both Porsche and onesie are trademarked). Second question – for most of my listings, I have personal stories. Can I mention trademarked words in the stories if it's clear that the item has nothing to do with that trademark? For example, “My dad is a huge Porsche fan, and drives a bright red 911. I designed this cosy knitted hat in bright red for him to wear to the winter car show…” (It's Etsy, so stories actually help) I'm a bit confused about this and most of the advice I've found is from other sellers, who really don't seem to know what they're talking about and provide conflicting answers. Etsy's advice is simply to avoid copying trademarked or copyrighted images (which should be pretty clear, but if you search “Disney” on Etsy, you'll quickly find that many people don't get it…).

ANSWER: Doing so would like constitute trademark infringement.

About the Author

Michael Shimokaji

Michael’s expertise includes the strategic development of patent and trademark portfolios. He identifies those patents and trademarks that are valuable to his clients by providing them with a competitive advantage. Then, Michael obtains patent and trademark registrations in the US and abroad.


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