This channel is for the legal questions you may have related to contracts, proposals, bad clients, and so on.

I'm not promising that we'll have a ton of lawyers around here to help, but maybe someone here has already had the same problem and found the solution!

This space is intended to be free-flowing, so share away! No need to overthink.
I don't have the details of this campaign yet but a client that I work for wants to donate a portion of her profits (not total sales) to a local charity.Β 

I'm charged with writing the promotional copy for social media, pop up banner, etc. and I'm wondering what kind of legal language I need to include.Β 

Do any of you have insights?Β 

Thanks a billion!
This is a great question – I don't have a legal answer, but hopefully someone else does.Β 

My non-legal opinion for stuff like this is that I go for:
  • Clarity
  • Honesty

If what you write is clear and it's true, IΒ thinkΒ that puts you in the clear most of the time. But, again, non-legal opinion!
Hillary Lyons replied
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I'm not really sure, but the nonprofit organization might have some language (especially if they've partnered with a company for this type of thing in the past), and you might look at 1% for the planet, a national initiative where companies pledge to give 1% of their profits to environmental causes. They might have some good language as well!
Hillary Lyons replied
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I don't know enough about this to even use the right terms. So any help/input is appreciated. The unfortunate side-effect is that I'm going to have to use wordy examples to explain what I'm after.

Long, long ago, there was a band named "Green Jello". They were sued by the Jello brand. The counter-argument was that Jello was so successful that the term Jello has replaced the term gelatin (like Kleenex has replaced facial tissue). Green Jello lost and renamed themselves to Green Jelly.

There's an alcohol brand named Everclear. There's a band named Everclear. They didn't get sued (as far as I've been able to research). A brand "loses legal defensibility" (quoted because I made up the term, not because it's a legit legal term) if it isn't defended.

  1. Is there a reliable way to research if a brand name is defended?
  2. Should I even care right now? (Being sued requires being noticed - it's a better problem than being invisible.)
The way I see this talked about is in reference to potential confusion by a consumer. If the names are similar enough that it could confuse consumers and negatively impact the protected business, then it’s a problem.

By that logic, two similar names can coexist it there is NOT potential confusion by the consumer; e.g. if the businesses are very different businesses. But bullies with deep pockets may still threaten legal action and it’s hard to stomach going to court even if you think you have a case.

First step is searching for a trademark to see if the name is protected and by who. USPTO can do that search, or you can do a quick one at Trademarkia too.

Last thought β€” this was covered a bit in this podcast: