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Can I incorporate a car logo into my independent car club?

~ New York

Alternately, there may be two other ways you could use the trademark. The first is called nominative use: this means using the trademark to actually refer to the trademark owner. It would be hard to have a car club about Jaguar without using the word. The law of nominative use is not identical across the US, so, be sure to consult with an attorney.

The second doctrine is called "fair use". Again, whether "fair use" might apply to your situation depends on many facts that you did not mention, for example, is this independent car club just a group of friends getting together to share the road? or, is this a commercial endeavor, where you will be charging membership fees?

Of course, there is a general principal in deciding whether to pursue: you do not want to sue your customer. So, if you are seeing car clubs that are using other car manufacturers marks, well, the car manufacturers do not want to make their customers angry. From a practical standpoint, some car manufacturers may likely have a soft touch when dealing with their own fans.

In the end, I suggest that you reach out to Jaguar and seek permission. If you can not get permission, talk to an attorney about how you can appropriately use the Jaguar marks.

Good luck!

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