General Question

metadog's avatar

How can trademarks exist for seemingly similar graphic designs?

Asked by metadog (378points) September 22nd, 2014
3 responses
“Great Question” (2points)

Hi! I was at a craft festival in Maryland this weekend. I noticed a surprising number of artisans using the shape of a Maryland blue crab with a Maryland flag in them. There were paintings, stickers, clothing, etc. A number of them had the characteristic “TM,” but the different creations were clearly not related. How can this be? I guess I just don’t understand trademark law very well. If you google “maryland crab flag logo” you get this How do they all do it? Is it because the “crabs” are all a little different? It just seemed odd to me, they are all so very similar. Thoughts?

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ibstubro's avatar

I think that as log as the designs are not exact, they can be trademarked. Everyone is doing versions combining two images that in the public domain: The Maryland State Flag and a crab image.

Now, what really confuses me is how I can search for this like (this might not actually prove my point 100% as my PC is slow to load, but you get the idea) balloon background and come up with seemingly identical images, some watermarked/trademarked, some not. It’s frustrating.

GQ, though.

Silence04's avatar

When you see a TM behind a mark or design, that just means there is intent to trademark or a trademark has been submitted for approval. It doesn’t really mean much other than warning people that they have intent on protecting their mark.

After a mark has been submitted and approved it becomes a registered trademark (r with a circle around it). Which basically means, the govt is in agreement that the mark is unique to that specific market and grants you ownership of that mark in that space. So if others came up with similar marks in that market, you would have ground to stand on in a legal battle.

rojo's avatar

Interesting trademark dispute Budweiser vis-a-vis Budweiser

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