3

I have an online resume website that I created, and I list the logos of companies I've work with over the course of my career. Rather than a dry date list of work experience, I'm just listing the names and logos of the companies on the website. I even have a disclaimer stating this in no way represents endorsement or sponsorship.

I assume this use of the names / logos is considered fair use, an anyone can put a companies name or logo on their resume to state where and who they've work with when talking about their work experience / history. This is exactly what I'm doing here, and what happens when people fill out their LinkedIn profiles too.

Is is considered trademark fair use to use a company logo on your resume?

My website is an online resume / portfolio to use as a digital resume outside of LinkedIn or other places. For reference, it's located here: http://chrispietschmann.com

2 Answers 2

4

No, it's not fair use. It's also not nominative fair use (the fair use equivalent for trademarks) as another answer suggests.

Why is it not nominative fair use?

There are three conditions for nominative fair use (taken from Wikipedia):

  1. The product or service cannot be readily identified without using the trademark (e.g. trademark is descriptive of a person, place, or product attribute).
  2. The user only uses as much of the mark as is necessary for the identification (e.g. the words but not the font or symbol).
  3. The user does nothing to suggest sponsorship or endorsement by the trademark holder. This applies even if the nominative use is commercial, and the same test applies for metatags.

The first two conditions really rule out any right to use a company's logo on a resume. Instead, the careful reader will notice that nominative fair use is actually the legal basis for your right to name the companies on your resume at all.

1
  • 1
    Given the contradictory answers, it would be helpful if someone could point to a court decision, USPTO guidance, or anything else more authoritative than their own interpretation of the law.
    – bdb484
    Nov 28, 2023 at 15:35
0

That is "nominative use" and is legal. (The term "fair use" is really a copyright term, and can be confusing in a trademark context.) Anyone is allowed to use a trademark to refer to the product or service, or its manufacturer, provided that no claim of endorsement is made or implied, and that no reasonable reader would be confused into thinking that the writer is in any way endorsed or sponsored by the trademark holder, or that any goods or services being offered for sale or advertised are in any way associated with the trademark, and further provided that the usage is not diluting the mark into a generic term for a category of goods or services.

A list of businesses with which a person has worked, assuming that it is accurate, seems to fit this category well.

In the US the case for nominative use is bolstered by the First Amendment, but my understanding is that it is permitted in more or less every country with a trademark law.

This is not to be taken as specific legal advice, and details not mentioned in the question might affect any conclusion.

2
  • 2
    This is wrong. Use of a logo on a resume is not nominative use.
    – Libavius
    Aug 12, 2023 at 17:58
  • 1
    Given the contradictory answers, it would be helpful if someone could point to a court decision, USPTO guidance, or anything else more authoritative than their own interpretation of the law.
    – bdb484
    Nov 28, 2023 at 15:35

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .