Is it possible to use a trademarked name as some sort of a reference for public available data (even when used in a commercial context)?

Non-Commercial example: Let's say we have an app that displays the amount of twitter followers for each account. To do so you obviously have to display the names of the account which (some of them) might be trademarked names. This is a non-commercial use case and is just using publicly available information (through twitter api for example). As far as I researched this is fine as long as of course Twitter in this case allows it.

Commercial example: Let's extend on previous example for easier explanation. We extend the app with actual in-app purchases. For example a user could place a bet on the amount of growth the account will have in the next x days.

Would this still fall into "fair use"? The trademarked name is only used to reference to the publicly available "follower count" and the app / product is in no other way connected to the twitter user / trademark. (Except of any special laws for gambling, that was just the easiest example I could imagine)

1 Answer 1


“Fair Use” is a (US) copyright concept: it has no relevance to Trademarks. A Trademark may also be subject to copyright, for example, the word Google is a trademark but it is not copyright - the Google logo is both a trademark and subject to copyright.

You infringe a trademark when you use it in such a way that people think that your goods and services are their goods and services. You don’t infringe a trademark when you use it to actually refer to them or their goods and services- that is what trademarks are for.

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