Trademark law is full of grey area. That is why having an experienced attorney is generally quite valuable. 

The hit book of 2012 has been “Shades of Grey.”  As with any pop culture phenomenon, a number of parties have filed trademark applications seeking to cash in on the popularity. Some of them are quite popular. Are they infringing or diluting the “Shades of Grey” name? Interest question with lots of grey area – of course. The title of a single work is not a trademark. But the title of series is. And Shades of Grey is a series of books. And to the extent the author or publisher have already merchandised the name into other services or products, that could create additional trademarks rights. Are some of the below playful spins on the “Shades of Grey” likely to be confused with the series of books? Again, the answers are not black and white.

50 Shades of Grape

Click marks for USPTO records:

FIFTY SHADES OF GRAPES – application for wine

$50 SHADES OF GREEN – application for lottery tickets

SHADES OF GRAY – registered since 2006 for hair coloring services

SHADES OF GREY – application for clothing — Opposition pending filed by owner of the mark for SHADES OF GREIGE

SHADES OF GRAY – application by Naomi Jane Gray for journals concerning copyright law information

SHADES OF GRAY – application by Naomi Jane Gray for legal services; alternative dispute resolution services

SHADES OF GRAY – application for jewerly

FIFTY SHADES OF BLACK – application for sun tan preparations

FIFTY SHADES – application for energy drinks, juices, and beers

50 SHADES OF CURIOUS – application for Educational services, namely, conducting seminars, lectures, conferences and workshops in the field of human sexuality, alternative sexuality and self help and distribution of course material in connection therewith; Educational services, namely, developing curriculum for others in the field of human sexuality, alternative sexuality and self help; Educational services, namely, developing, arranging, and conducting educational conferences and programs and providing courses of instruction in the field of human sexuality, alternative sexuality and self help

50 SHADES OF DARKNESS – application for indoor tanning products, namely, non-medicated skin tan darkening lotions and skin moisturizers {Note: Extension of time to oppose filed}

50 SHADES OF BRONZE – Cosmetic sun-tanning preparations; Cosmetic tanning preparations; Indoor sun tanning preparations; Self-tanning preparations; Skin gels for accelerating, enhancing or extending tans; Sun tan gel; Sun tan lotion; Sun tan oil; Sun-tanning oils; Sun-tanning oils and lotions; Sun-tanning preparations; Suntan creams; Tanning and after-sun milks, gels and oils; Tanning creams; Tanning gels; Tanning milks; Tanning oils


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