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similar to this question - Listing clubs and businesses

If i say created an android app that listed the names and locations of golf clubs and shops selling golf related things (without permission) that would obliviously be okay because there "facts", but what if I where to charge say $2 to download the app ? Would that not be considered as making money from there name/company, especially if it where trademarked.

What would the legal repercussions be of designing such an app and charging $2 for people to download it ?

I'm not actually considering doing this, Just interested in what the law is concerning things like this.

  • Take a look at playboy v welles. – jqning Mar 14 '16 at 23:49
  • @jqning -- the case you are citing is about a person using somebody else's trademark as an endorsement on their personal site -- while you are right that you cannot do that -- i'm not sure that is what this question is about. – Soren Mar 16 '16 at 14:55
  • @Soren that's not what the case is about, it's not about using the mark as an endorsement, it's about using the mark in a way that is not an endorsement. The conclusion in that case was that Welles can use Playboy and Bunny et al on her website to describe herself – jqning Mar 17 '16 at 2:06
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I don't think there is a difference as to whether you are charging for the service or not.

You are charging for providing a service (your app and the technology and marketing behind it), and not making monies of the trademarks. Looking at your competition such a Yelp, nobody is objecting to be included, rather the opposite, and often companies are paying to get preferential placement within the app.

Companies have the right to control the use of their trademarks, so make sure that you are not using them in a way that where they are looking as they are endorsing your app, and make sure that you make it clear how they can be removed or included in your app.

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  • Just what I needed thanks :) will have to award the bounty in 21 hours :/ – user2649305 Mar 16 '16 at 16:42
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Playboy v Welles stands for the fact that we can use trademarks in a descriptive manner. Specifically, that descriptive (aka nominative) use is fair use.

The test is pretty simple. You can use the trademark (in this case, the name) if the product or company cannot be identified without it, you only use as much of the mark as is necessary to identify the company, and you don't suggest that the company endorses you or your use of the trademark.

It's all about likelihood of confusion - will a consumer confuse your product with the trademarked product? That's where you don't want to go.

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