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Taking Care of Business
The pen and paper aspects of DV -- put it in writing!

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Old October 11th, 2005, 12:07 PM   #1
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Paul Tauger Available?

I've been reading all the posts regarding trademark useage and such in films and let me first say that your input is extremely helpful and it is very generous of you to put in the time and effort (and have the patience) to answer so many quesitons in this area. It has helped me alot. I see you have been answering the same general questions for several years here and yet I was hoping that you might be able to clarify or give some clear examples of what might consitutute "a likelihood of consumer confusion as to sponsorship, ownership or affiliation, dilutes the distinctive character of a famous trademark?"

What might cause confusion of sponsorship? Just wearing a Nike T-Shirt? A character drinking a soda? Along those lines, is it at all possible to lessen the liklihood of anyone being "confused" by placing a disclaimer in the title sequence or somewhere similar that states something to the effect of "None of the companies whose products were seen in this film endorsed, sponsored or in any way participated in this film or it's content blah blah blah...?"

I am shooting a film with some young kids and we've mistakenly (through ignorance" shot several scenes in which common products are visible. Since being more educated about all this, we have tried to limit this type of exposure whenever possible, but I think we will definitely need to consult an IP attorney. That being said, we still have a bit more to shoot and would like to get some more clarification. I understand from your earlier posts that it really needs to be evaluated on a case by case basis, so we obviously don't expect that you can answer to our specific situation in detail, but some examples of what the legal terms cover would be greatly appreciated.

Much appreciated,
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Old October 12th, 2005, 01:35 AM   #2
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Los Angeles (recently from San Francisco)
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Unfortunately, I'm reading this at 11:30 at night -- too late for a detailed answer. The short answer is this: likelihood of consumer confusion is determined by an 8 factor analysis (google "Polaroid factors" to see what they are) that is HIGHLY fact specific -- there's no general rule. Also realize that likelihood of confusion, i.e. trademark infringement, is only one concern. Dilution is another.

Sorry -- gotta go to bed now.
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Old October 12th, 2005, 11:48 AM   #3
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Thanks Paul, I appreciate the reply. That's some pretty interesting reading. The 8 factors seem to be more related to two confusion between two marks. So I guess I'm still not sure what might constitute confusion of sponsorship or association as a mark may appear in a film. Would a disclaimer have any weight?

thanks again,
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