Can You Use Football Club’s Logos? (Legal Point Of View)
Football fan culture is beyond amazing, and so is the love towards the teams and club logos. I was browsing some print-on-demand-t-shirts the other day and noticed an individual seller that was using a football club’s logo without permission, I’m guessing. That made me wonder how many people out there are looking for an answer to the question, can you use football club’s logos for your purposes.
All NFL logos are trademarked, meaning the franchise legally owns them. To gain legal usage access for the logos, you need to contact the team professional and gain their permission. You can’t use football club logos on anything without permission.
You might think that it’s not a big deal as you won’t be caught. However, you should know that there are serious penalties issued in trademark infringement issues, such as;
- $150,000 fee from damages and lost profit per infringement
- Prison time up to 10 years
- Prohibition to use any trademarked content and/or products
Those are some serious effects that can come out of a trademark infringement. Note that you need to run some massive operation to get fines that bing, which has caused massive loss of profits for the owner, reputation damage, or anything between.
A regular person unknowingly printing a logo on a t-shirt won’t get fines that big, yet, they can be overwhelming nonetheless.
Football franchises and their logos are widely known, so it shouldn’t be unclear for anyone that it’s forbidden to use them for your good, especially if you’re looking for the answer like you’re doing right now.
However, some cases can be much more difficult to know, whether someone has a trademark on it or not. I’m a person who likes to be on the safe side of things, especially as something as a trademark incident.
Therefore, if you’re unsure about a trademark, I highly suggest you do a TESS test on USPTO.gov (United States Patent and Trademark Office) and find out.
To learn more about trademark laws, visit bitlaw.com.
How to Get Permission to Use a Sports Team Logo?
You might wonder that individuals are selling intellectual property with great success on popular platforms such as Etsy. They have gotten permission from the NFL as platforms such as Etsy will ban sellers extremely quickly when copyright infringement is noticed. That being said, how to get permission to use a sports team logo?
To get permission to use sports team logos and avoid trademark infringement, write an email to the trademark owner and ask for their approval. Include a description of who you are, why you want to use their logo, and where you will use it.
This way, you can get permission to use trademarked logos, avoid infringements, and gain already owned traction for your benefit. It can be difficult to find an email owned by a trademark owner of a sports company. However, there’s a solution that makes it easier.
I like to use Hunter.io, a free email address finder that you can get from the Chrome Web Store as an extension, and you can find up to 25 emails per month for free. It’s straightforward to use too.
As an example, I would like to contact Los Angeles Raiders to ask for their permission for logo usage. I would insert their domain name (https://www.raiders.com/) to Hunter.io, which crawls the site and finds email addresses to contact. Take a look at it below.
Add the site you would like to find email addresses from for trademark permission, and you will gain many addresses to contact. For example, the Raiders.com search resulted in 43 email contacts.
Anyways, when you are straightforward about who you are and what you would like to use someone else’s intellectual property for, you will have a lot more success than cheating your way out of it.
Are Football Team Names Copyrighted?
I have often heard the term copyrighted mixing with trademark and vice versa. I’m not surprised when the two get mixed up as this kind of law is quite tiring and difficult to understand. So, are football loges and franchises copyrighted.
Football teams, their logos, and names aren’t copyrighted but trademarked. A copyright protects original work, whereas a trademark protects items and other property identified under a particular business. Football teams and their properties are trademarked, not copyrighted.
Copyrights protect original work such as books from authors, art from artists, and any original work, so it can’t be copied. Trademark, however, protects brand identifiers from copycats and wrongly used, so there is a notable difference between the two.
The only thing that isn’t different between the two is the severity of infringement punishments. I already discussed the potential fees and ramifications of trademark infringements, but violating copyright properties can be as severe. Here is a couple of examples;
- Up to $250,000 fee per copyright infringement
- Up to 2 years in prison
- Employment discipline and discharge
Those penalties doesen’t look appealing to me. In fact, they look practically life-ruining. Although to get the maximum penalties for copyright infringement, you would need to do serious damage knowingly. Still, it’s good to be careful with both trademarks and copyrights.
My Favorite Football Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value you can implement in your life. Finally, below you can find my favorite football equipment that I think would serve you well on the field!
- Football: I like to get quality things at once, so I don’t need to replace everything after a short while. And for that reason, Wilson “The Duke” Football is the only choice for that. You can get this authentic NFL football as an official game ball or a cheaper metallic edition version. Whichever you might choose, The Duke is the only official football in the league’s history, making it the best choice.
- Cleats: Cleats play an important role in football as they are the traction between you and the field. There is no better than the Nike Vapor Edge Pro 360, and for a good reason. The cleats feature a lightweight, short upper, supporting lacing system and a wide stud layout for fast speed and reliable traction. Oh, and all the various designs are beyond stunning!
- Gloves: No matter whether you throw or receive the ball, you can say goodbye to your performance if you don’t have proper gloves. Enter Seibetron Receiver Gloves equipped with various benefits, such as excellent grip on the fingers and palms, great durability, and a green light for machine washing!
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.