In National Business Forms & Printing, Inc. v. Ford Motor Co., No. 10-20023, 2012 WL 502712 (5th Cir. Feb. 16, 2012), the Fifth Circuit held, as a matter of first impression in the Circuit, that a commercial printer does not “use” a trademark within the meaning of the Trademark Dilution Revision Act (“TDRA”) when it reproduces or offers to reproduce a trademark for customers as part of its printing business. Plaintiff NBFP is a small commercial printer that maintains a website that allows customers to access a bank of corporate logos and other clip art for use as part of NBFP’s custom design and printing services. Ford demanded that NBFP remove Ford’s logo from the website and, after NBFP refused, litigation ensued. The Fifth Circuit agreed with the district court that NBFP did not make “use” of the Ford trademark as envisioned by the Act because NBFP had not appropriated Ford’s mark as its own. The court further found that Congress did not unequivocally include commercial printers within the scope of the TDRA and, therefore, the court would not read the statute in such a manner.
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Reproducing corporate logos was not improper trademark use
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