Printing brand logos on clothes: Innocent doing or trade mark infringement?

Whether you wish to expand your DIY skills or simply save some money, embroidering/ printing another brand’s logo onto an unrelated item of clothing could prove itself controversial in the world of IP.

The underlying purpose of a trade mark is to provide the owner with exclusive rights of protection. However, there is also the less obvious purpose of protecting the consumer. So, if one were to sell an unbranded piece of clothing with a self- embroidered Nike logo for example, this could significantly damage the brand reputation as the consumer will not likely receive the same quality for the goods as expected from the brand originally. If the consumer was made aware that the seller was embroidering the said logo onto the clothing, then that can remove the element of consumer protection. However, it will still be infringing on the brand’s mark, even if the person was solely producing their goods for their own use, with no intention to sell.

Another aspect for consideration is that of adding an extra Nike logo, for example to a Nike piece of clothing. This would once again concern whether an individual was looking to sell the product or keep for self-use. The quality element would be satisfactory, as the brand produced the clothes themselves, however, it is likely that almost in all instances there will be an occurrence of infringement, under the tort of passing off. As per the case of Perry v Truefitt (1842) “A man is not to sell his own goods under the pretence that they are the goods of another man”.

If you have any queries regarding the above article, or would require assistance with a trade mark, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our expert team at the Trademarkroom today.

Lora Krasteva

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