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I saw this article and it got me thinking about fictional brands we see in movies and TV.

Are they actually applicable trademarks?

Meaning are they registered and legally upheld or could anyone market a product using a trademark from a movie?

Here is the wiki link to trademarks I didn't see anything that mentions this.

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Related question – TylerShads May 17 '12 at 19:13
Related Question… as well. I love it when there are multiple questions that are clearly not duplicates. – Kevin Howell May 17 '12 at 19:38
I am reminded of the Outhouse Springs bottled water campaign, which turned a fictional brand into a real brand later. – Flimzy May 17 '12 at 22:41
up vote 9 down vote accepted

Very few (if any) fictional products are actually registered trademarks, however they are creative works. This means any use of similar packaging is subject to copyright infringement laws. There is a possible case against a product using only the same name, if it's reasoned the name could cause confusion.

The best example to understand this situation would be Duff Beer from The Simpsons. That wiki page lists several instances of beers named Duff around the world. Some have had legal action sought against them by Fox (names only as well as name and design), and some have escaped any legal action. Interestingly, a man in Mexico has managed to register 'Duff' as a trademark in Mexico.

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In 1989, the U.S. enacted the Berne Convention Implementation Act, amending the 1976 Copyright Act to conform to most of the provisions of the Berne Convention. As a result, the use of copyright notices has become optional to claim copyright, because the Berne Convention makes copyright automatic.[23] However, the lack of notice of copyright using these marks may have consequences in terms of reduced damages in an infringement lawsuit — using notices of this form may reduce the likelihood of a defense of "innocent infringement" being successful.[24] – Kevin Howell May 18 '12 at 14:06
Good link on the Duff Beer! I think I actually learned more from it than I did the wiki links. Usually I like to get two answers or at least wait longer before accepting an answer but I think this pretty clearly answers the question. – Kevin Howell May 18 '12 at 14:18

I would like to think they are not, as stores such as Last Exit To Nowhere appear to commercialize fictional movie brands. (Or to put it differently, I'd be very surprised if shops like LETN would have negotiated with the movie studio's in order to be allowed to use the fictional brands).

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