Can you register a trademark for a mascot?
Hi, I'm attorney Gordon Firemark, and this is Asked and Answered, where I answer your entertainment law questions, to help you take your career and business to the next level.
This question comes from a viewer who wondering about the grounds in which she needs to stand on legally to begin a non-profit organization / project.
Specifically, the concerns are about the laws on mascots, she asks:
I have four mascots which are connected to my trademark/logo. (No nothing is actually registered yet. I'm simply getting my ducks in a row before I do anything.)
What do mascots register under?
Also, I wish to have an artist design my mascots and not an actual mascot designer. As for events and other things, the mascots shall be posed in different poses.
Does this create a second party to the mascot rights?
What rights do I have and what rights does the artist have in this type of situation.
And also if i want the mascots to be animated (for either ads or something else) or used for a picture book.
Do other laws surface about their copyright or anything else in either case?
Thanks for your interesting question. I'll be answering it in a video soon, but wanted to get back to you with a response as quickly as possible. No charge for these answers.
A mascot or character can be a trademark. The user of the mascot as an indicator of origin for goods or services (entertainment?) can register the design/look of the mascot as well as the name (in some instances)
Examples: San Diego's Famous Chicken. Barney the purple dinosaur, etc.
Registration class would vary depending on the goods/services with which the mascot is connected.
What's important in dealing with the designer is a question of copyright, rather than trademark. The designer isn't using the mascot as a trademark (i.e., to identify source/origin of goods or services), but IS the initial owner of the copyright in the design. So, you'll need to have a properly drafted contract conferring or transferring ownership to you, so you've got the legal right to use it, and to register the trademark. Same is true if you decide to have a costume created for the mascot.
If you're arranging for an animated version of your mascot, you'll need a similar contract with the animators/studio.
That does it for this session…
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