customisable 'branded' stickers

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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customisable 'branded' stickers

Post by renegade13 »

Hi all,

I want to make personalised stickers for food items. Heinz Tomato Ketchup, for example.

The sticker would look like the real Heinz one, but instead of Heinz, have a name and underneath - some custom text.

Would this be copyright infringement?

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Re: customisable 'branded' stickers

Post by AndyJ »

Hi renegade,

While there is likely to be copyright protection for the logos like the Heinz symbol, I think the bigger risk comes from possible trade mark infringement. Trade mark infringement occurs when someone who is not licensed to use the trade mark uses it in the course of trade in a way which may confuse the buying public as to the true origin of the goods being offered for sale. Unlike copyright there is no defence of parody in trade mark infringement, and so even though it would be fairly obvious to someone who wanted to buy one of your stickers that Heinz etc was not maker of the stickers, and that your version was a parody, I don't think that would stop some brand owners from doing whatever they felt was necessary to protect their branding from dilution. A lot will depend on the purpose of your stickers. If it is just something a customer can apply to personalise an item, such as a work folder or school bag, then I think there is much less chance that a brand owner is going to get worked up about it. However if one of your customers decided to sell his own brand of tomato sauce using your stickers, for instance, that would almost certainly cause a swift reaction from the brand owner since the goods would, in theory at least, be in direct competition with the brand owner's.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007
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