Monday, September 28, 2009

Dog is My Co-Trademark

Dear Rich: I am a jewelry artisan and one of the things I do is stamp wording and such onto metal. I've had several requests for items with the phrase "Dog is my co-pilot" which is a registered trademark of The Bark magazine. Because of that I've always declined. However, after seeing many other products with this phrase I did a trademark search and found the federal registration by The Bark, Inc.. The registration is for printed matter, decals, and stickers. So does that mean that the phrase can be used on jewelry, t-shirts, or anything that is not published, other than decals and stickers? Sorry to ask what is probably obvious to you, but until I looked it up I had no idea that the trademark might be only for specific uses. So I'm just checkin'. Whenever I saw the little "R" I just assumed I had to leave it alone. (I've already had a C&D from Fox for "" I had no idea.) Your research is correct. The Bark owns one federal registration for "Dog is My Co-Pilot" for printed publications, decals, and stickers, and another for t-shirts. The Bark  also promotes its mark as the title of a book, and at its website. The Dear Rich Staff notes that one of the factors used to determine infringement is whether The Bark is likely to "bridge the gap" between decals and t-shirts, and jewelry. We can't predict whether your work would get you in trouble -- we found a few examples of the phrase on jewelry -- but if your work is high-profile enough to attract attention from the lawyers at Fox, then you may face a similar challenge for this dog-gone use as well. Disclosure: The Bark's offices are around the corner from Nolo.