Is it illegal to get a trademarked logo as a tattoo?

This is not what I would get, but if someone got the Nike swoosh tattooed on their body would it be illegal?

Im looking to modify a little known logo I know of for a tattoo.

I know most would say, “heck no! it’s free advertising!” But really, does anyone know?

I did a few searches, but I found typing in trademark into any combo of boolean searches with tattoo brings up quite a few unhelpful links. The word “trademark” is out there everywhere on the web.


Not sure

When I went to get my first tattoo… some kid got the FirstLine logo tattoo’d on him…

Ugh… what a waste of money.

You’d be lucky if the tattoo artist even agrees to it. Most of them think stuff like logos and barcodes are beneath them.

I know a couple of people who have trademarked logos as tattoos. I don’t think it’s really a big deal although technically it might not be legal.

I think the bigger question is - why would you want to? Isn’t the idea to get something unique?

The most painful thing about this, other than getting it done, will be the removal process when the trademark owner demands that you have it surgically removed. At your own expense.

Fizzman, 9 out of 10 times I would have agreed with you, but there is a certain kind of image that has always meant something to me and I actually found a representation of it that fits what has always been in my mind, unfortunately it’s a part of someone’s logo.

vinnie, yeah, I considered that too, but this logo wouldnt be known by any tattoo artists anywhere Im sure, especially after I modify and present it to them as a personal creation(blasphemy! I know).

hillsy, Ive seen a lot of people with trademarked logos, characters, etc and it never seemed like a big deal to me either. And oh, I think it’s unique, Ive never seen anything like it on anyone, and I really wouldnt be getting it for everyone else to appreciate or criticize or as a matter of expression, it would be for me, and this is one image Ive always thought wouldnt be a mistake.

John, true true! lol

Thanks for the thoughts.

I seen a tattoo of a can of campells(spelling?) soup on someone in a magazine.
People get tattoos of cartoon characters all the time. They’re probably trademarked and copyrighted aren’t they?

Personally I’m thinking about getting a tattoo of fizzman’s avatar.
Hope he don’t sue me.


:lol: :smiley:

Copyright/Trademark law is a civil law rather than a criminal law. That means that it’s up to the owner of the work to sue you.

I can’t imagine that they would, as you’re unlikely to profit from having their logo tattooed on you. In fact, they might see it as free advertising. However, they might sue. You never know.

The best way for you to find out is to contact them and ask them in advance. They may see it as an opportunity for media exposure! :slight_smile:

Sonic, its not you that should be concerned, but the person doing the tattoo might want to consider the legalities. After all, he is the one making the money from using a trademarked logo.

Some Final Fantasy fan got a Squaresoft Logo on her arm.

Since then there was a merger, and Squaresoft is now Square Enix with a different logo. Oh well.

True, but I think he plans to modify the logo to some extent.

I have had a tatoo of Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes for several years now and so far so good. I’ll keep you posted if the copyright police show up at my door to have it surgically removed. :tup:

Or how about when you are an adult and want it surgically removed?

I’m an adult now and I just tell my 5 year old it’s a picture of him. :slight_smile:

I did think about contacting him regardless. I already have a large copy of it after tracing it myself in Illustrator, but Im positive he has an even more detailed copy of it in vector format, which I might need if I want it to cover a significant portion of my body. I doubt Ill do that though. And I even thought about sending him an anonymous donation for it.

All in all I really doubt it would be an issue due to the changes I have made to it (worked on it last night). It will be at least a year before I do it, gives me time to really think about it. If Im still happy with the decision to get it in a year’s time, then Ill go through with it.

I was gonna get one of him a few years back on my bare arm (to balance out my tats), I had it all traced out - one with an evil grin rubbing his hands together. But then he started showing up on the back of every teen male’s pickup whizzing on brand names, and it kinda diluted the uniqueness of it, so I cancelled it.

Other plan was to have Marvin the Martian bent over dropping drawers at the Earth. A martian mooning the earth. Thought it was funny, then I sobbered up.

My next will be a tribal/celtic motif of a sun. I’m still working on a design though. It’ll also probably end up being a logo for my companies.

I am an adult and thinking of getting a tattoo. No logos though.

:agree: My dad got his first tattoo at the age of 41.