Can I Trademark a Tattoo?

Yes, you can trademark a tattoo. You can trademark a tattoo design so long as the image is being used to brand or sell your products.

This information was provided by our founding attorney, Xavier Morales, Esq. 

Any original pieces of artwork that you generate and utilize to identify your products or services may be used as a logo. If you opt to use the image of a tattoo as a logo, you may trademark it just as you would be able to trademark any other image. Trademarking the image of a tattoo will prevent competitors from using the image to identify their products.

Please note that the image of a tattoo is subject to the same rules and restrictions that any other image or logo would be. This means that the tattoo must be distinct and it must be used to identify your products; the tattoo could not be overly generic.

Tattoo Trademark Rights

Trademarking a tattoo grants you exclusive rights to the use of the original design in commerce. It's essential for the tattoo to be a creation of the original artist to qualify for intellectual property protection.

Trademarking a tattoo will not prevent other private citizens from getting a similar tattoo, provided the tattoo artist is not claiming a false connection to you. In addition, the tattoo artist must not be a market competitor, as trademarks prevent the misappropriation of materials by market competitors.

However, should the tattoo include original artwork, any unauthorized use might constitute infringement, raising the issue of protection for the original artist.

What If Someone Already Has the Tattoo?

The opportunity to trademark a tattoo extends to artistic tattoos and even temporary tattoos, provided they meet the criteria for trademark protection. Seeking permission to use a tattoo design for commercial purposes is a proactive step to avoid legal complications.

A tattoo that becomes trademarked will in no way affect previous recipients of that tattoo. This answer to a common concern reassures people who might worry about the implications of trademarking existing tattoos. If there are any companies or organizations that have prior claims to the tattoo, then it is unlikely that you will be able to secure a trademark for it.

Cases of Trademarked Tattoos

There have been several fairly high-profile instances where lawsuits were filed over the appearance of tattoos on athletes in video games. This trend has spanned the NFL, UFC, and NBA, highlighting the intricate issue of intellectual property rights and the need for clear permissions in the realm of original tattoos.

Ready to Protect Your Work?

If you would like to trademark the image of a tattoo then you should contact us today.

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Xavier Morales, Esq.

About the Author

Xavier Morales, Esq.

Mr. Morales founded his trademark law practice in January 2007 with the goal of providing intellectual property expertise to entrepreneurs and businesses around the country. Since then, he has filed more than 6,000 trademarks with the USPTO. You can learn more about Xavier here.

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