Do you need Permission to use someone’s Brand Name?


You need to be careful when you use another brand’s name. While a brand name isn’t protected by copyright law, that doesn’t mean it’s free for the taking. In fact, many brands have registered their names as trademarks and can sue you if they believe their trademark rights have been violated. So even though you may not need permission from the company in order to use its product or service, there are still some legal considerations to keep in mind before using someone else’s brand name.

Know Your Legal Obligations

To understand how you’re legally allowed to use a brand, it’s important to understand the terms of your agreement with the brand owner.

  • Know your obligations. The most important thing is to make sure that you’re not violating any contract terms with the brand owner. If they’ve given you some sort of written document outlining their expectations, read through it carefully and pay attention to what they’ve said about sharing content online. It’s also worth asking them if they’d like to see any posts before they go live on social media or elsewhere online.
  • Know what others may perceive as “fair use” versus copyright infringement when using someone else’s trademarked logo or name in your own work. If you don’t know whether something counts as fair use yet feel confident enough anyway, try sharing it privately first before posting publicly just in case there are any issues down the road—and don’t forget: Fair Use doesn’t give anyone license from actually stealing the copyrighted material.

Make Sure You Are Not Infringing On Someone’s Trademark

When you’re dealing with brands and trademarks, you need to make sure you’re not infringing on someone else’s brand. The first step is to do a trademark search. First, check the USPTO’s database of registered trademarks (searchable by keyword) to see if the word or phrase you want to use is actually registered by someone else.

If your mark doesn’t match any other existing marks exactly, that doesn’t mean it won’t still be infringing upon someone else’s mark—but it means that if they are using the same or similar product category as yours, then there’s a good chance that no one will care about how similar your two products might look in the marketplace when compared side-by-side (think of them as brothers).

If you do find an infringement after doing this research and want to pursue legal action against them for using your brand name without permission from its rightful owner—which may result in getting compensation from them through court proceedings—then speak with an attorney who specializes in trademark law.

Make Sure You Are Not Defaming The Brand

  • Don’t use the brand name in a negative way. For example, if you are making a video about how bad smoking is and your video is called “The Effects of Smoking,” you could not include a scene with someone smoking because it would be defamatory to the cigarette company that makes that brand of cigarettes.
  • Don’t defame another business. If you are doing an ad for a new restaurant and you mention another restaurant by name in an unflattering way (e.g., “We have better service than xyz’s”) then your ad could be considered defamatory to the other restaurant owner or business entity.
  • Don’t use the brand name in a way that could be perceived as negative. For example, if your article was called “Why You Shouldn’t Buy X Brand Clothing,” then someone might think this meant you were saying something bad about X brand clothing; however, since everyone knows this isn’t true—you’re just telling people why they shouldn’t buy it—you should still be fine with using their trademarked name.

Avoid Confusing Consumers

If you are trying to describe your product, do not use a brand name as part of the description. Use unique words that describe your product and how it is different from other products on the market.

Do not use a brand name in the domain name of your website or blog post (for example, “”). If someone tries to find information about the brand by searching for its name, they will find themselves at your site instead of their intended destination.

Do not use a brand name in the title of your blog post or book; this will confuse consumers who may think they have found an official source by Googling it when they’re looking for more information about a topic or trend.


Yes, you do. As a brand owner, you can choose to give permission or not. If the brand owner does not give you permission and your product is similar to theirs, it’s best for you to change your name.


It’s important to understand the legal obligations when using someone else’s brand name. This can get complicated and there are many factors to consider, so it’s best to consult a lawyer if you aren’t sure about anything.

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