How to Use Trademarked Terms?


I’m making an app, which will have links to YouTube playlists (cartoons, movies, etc.) and include some images.

I’m sure I can’t use trademarked names in app’s title (like Batman, Bugs Bunny, etc.), but can I used them in app’s description? I’ve seen a ton of apps, but I still want to make sure, I won’t do anything wrong.

So if I use term Batman (just an example) in the description with a TM symbol (Batman), I think I should be fine, what do you think?

Also, I’ll include some images from Flickr (with no copyrights), but if I decide to use a copyrighted image, if I put a link next to it (like Source: http://www.imagelink…/), it’s also OK, right?

My app is going to be FREE - I won’t be charging for anything.

Your help is much appreciated! :slight_smile: Thanks.


In summer I was asking Marvel for using some pictures of their comic heroes in an app. I asked for pictures, not for using the heroes!

The answer was: “Your request to use Marvel’s characters in your app is not approved. We do not permit use of our characters to be used in apps in this way.”
So the TM symbol won’t be enough.

Best regards.

To be honest- Who knows? There’s at least two different channels (Google and the IP owners) and differing views of fair use, and then you got the whole situation where some companies won’t put forth the resources to cease and desist apps, unless it’s blatant infringement. Then there are companies like Nintendo that go crazy with DMCA requests.

Hi guys,

thanks for your answers. Well, I’ll just go safely as possible with TM and R signs, plus stuff that’s available on YouTube and Flickr.

Hi again!

I was examining “soundboard” and “ringtone” apps and I see a lot of people using various trademarked names in their app’s titles. I’m tempted, but I’m just too afraid, because a friend of mine got his whole account suspended because of using “Mickey Mouse” in app’s title.

Would you risk putting a TM name in your apps title?

It will get banned very, very quickly. Just observe how long those apps will stay the store.

I’m staying on the safe side. :slight_smile:

I’ve found a developer on Google Play who has 100+ apps and all are based on established music groups / performers. They are so called “fan apps” with titles like “Mariah Carey Top 10 Songs”, “Coldplay Top 10 Songs”, “The Beatles Top 10 Songs”, etc.

He has a LOT of downloads, probably making a lot of money out of it, and he probably doesn’t spend more than 30-60 minutes per app. :slight_smile:

I’m just wondering if using these titles isn’t trademark infringement? I know that you can use whatever you like in app description, but not in titles.

He’s account is “old” and I guess Google would already do something if it would be against their TOS.

Anyway, I don’t mind this guy doing this, I think he really found a good “niche” and good luck to him! I’m just wondering if any of you know if this is legal and where can I find more “legal” information about this? I would probably also release about 10 similar apps, just to test, how it would go.


If I was going to release some apps that I’m not sure are legal, just to test, I would get a new google account not linked to my existing one and release them on this account. Don’t release them on your account that already has some apps, if banned you’d lose all of them.

but honestly, what do you expected them to response? if id work for marvel or any company and id received such a petition, why would i take the risk of saying yes? why would i take the risk to give some answer that could be used against me later? (especially considering that emails are stored).
In my opinion, any request regarding the use of any trademark in any way will have a big NO as an answer. At least that’s what id do…

I took a look at his/her account, he got like 100 apps with lets say an average of 25.000 downloads. That’s a total of 2.500.000 installs. Considering that those seems to be very bad apps, i dont think he got even a decent user keep-rate.
In my opinion it is still much better to use that time to try to make a great, high-quality and meaningful app to get those 2.500.000 installs (with a much higher retention rate).
In the end, we all know, there is no easy money.

@BaksaiApps: Yeah, that could be a problem - if user keep-rate is low, you can only count on downloads to keep making money. Otherwise if the downloads stop, the money stops.