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Would it be legal to use Cott-produced, generic beverages in a film?

1 Answers. Asked on Jul 08th, 2013 on Intellectual Property - Arkansas
More details to this question:
Walmart sells a line of beverages manufactured by Cott with very generic labelling, for example: http://i.walmartimages.com/i/p/00/06/15/00/01/0006150001096_180X180.jpg Since these drinks bear no brand name, I know there are no trademark/brand issues there. There are also no trademarked logos (with the exception of a very small Royal Crown logo by the nutrition facts which would be easy to not show on camera). Here's what I'm wondering: Could the printed format on the can be protected by some sort of copyright/trademark or other form of intellectual property protection? If so, how can I find out?
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Licenced in CT
Answered on Jul 08th, 2013 at 3:05 PM

Context matters. As a general matter, it is perfectly "legal" to use anyone's logo or brand indicia in a film, without permission, as long as it is done in a manner which does not falsely suggest the endorsement or sponsorship of the film or the producer's products by the trademark owner. For example, it is entirely possible to have your hero drink Beefeater or 7-Up in clearly identified containers. No permission is required. It is not really clear what interest you may think is being protected, but trademark law doesn't preclude all use of the trademark owner's mark by others. Sometimes, in an excess of caution, such permissions will be sought. They are nearly universally granted.

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Intellectual Property
The legal system recognizes the rights of people and companies that invent and create unique works, granting them ownership of those tangible and intangible assets through a number of intellectual property laws. Intellection property, or IP, includes patents, trademarks, copyright, trade dress and trade secrets. Intellectual property attorneys work with businesses and individuals (including inventors, writers, composers, artists and designers) to help protect these intellectual assets. IP lawyers and law firms can assist with taking initial steps to protect assets, while also working with clients to license items and to protect assets that are plagiarized, infringed and/or misappropriated.
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