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Wednesday, November 25, 2009


As I rake my yard for the 8th time this autumn and search the depths of the freezer aisle for the “perfect bird” my thoughts naturally move toward this upcoming Thursday morning. I usually wake up at the crack of dawn to prepare for a day of cooking and entertaining, and therefore find much comfort in the nostalgia of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I love the floats, the waving flags, and who couldn’t love those Broadway show tunes?

The Macy’s parade starting in 1924, by first generation immigrants, who were employed by the corporation. The store workers created the parade themselves, to show appreciation for their new country (certainly a great sentiment to carry on during this time of year). The logo, noted above, was registered by Macy’s (Federated Department Stores), in 1998, and is used exclusively in relation to the Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Of course I did not ask Macy’s permission to mention their logo and parade. So, how is it possible for me to discuss and show the parade’s mark? The simple answer is that I am utilizing a provision in the Lanham Act, called Fair Use ( “reasonable and good faith use of a descriptive term that is another’s trademark to describe rather than to identify the user’s goods, services, or business”).

Basically, I am using this mark purely for description and identification purposes. I am not using it in a suggestive way, or with respect to sponsorship or association with the mark’s owner’s product or services. Now, if I was trying to sell you a Macy’s parade T-shirt, I might be I a bit of trouble. But, as much as I enjoy the parade, my intent is not to use the mark for any unauthorized activities.

So, as you sit down to watch the parade in a few days, you may want to give some thought to how hard Macy’s and its employees have worked to move this parade from a simple employee event, to a national icon and registered trademark.

Posted by Attorney Kelly L. Swan Taylor

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