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What is fair use?

On Behalf of | Jun 6, 2022 | Trademark Law

You can protect your intellectual property, such as logos, brand names, colors, sounds, and mascots by utilizing trademarks.

If your business uses trademarks to protect your intellectual property, the trademark protects it from being copied by others for profit. In addition to the protections trademarks offer, the U.S. Copyright Office explains that the Fair Use doctrine only exists to protect your intellectual property.

How does Fair Use relate to intellectual property?

When it comes to intellectual property, the courts have to determine how others can use another party’s intellectual property without infringing on the owner’s rights. For example, if a person parodies a song or uses a company’s logo in an educational video, did they infringe on the owner’s copyright or trademark? Intellectual property requires special protections from being copied by others for commercial uses. However, there may be various reasons for another party to use your intellectual property without violating Fair Use.

How does Fair Use protect you?

Fair Use protects you from copyright infringement, but it also protects the person using content for a limited purpose. A person cannot copy your work for profit or for any commercial reason. However, a person may use your work in a transformative or educational way. When it comes to deciphering Fair Use, it can become complex. Courts have to look at the quality and quantity of material the other party uses. The use violates Fair Use if the use of your IP harms your future profit. For instance, if someone uses your intellectual property and displaces your sales or profits.

While there are specific rules of Fair Use, much of it comes down to court interpretation.