The Six Flags logo is a trademark, and people can only legally use or display it with prior written permission, reports Six Flags Entertainment Corporation. People can legally use trademarks without permission if they use them in informational media, comparative advertising or trademark parody, explains Nolo.
Anyone who wants to use a trademark for commercial purposes, such as marketing or promotion, must first obtain permission from the owner of the trademark, states Nolo. Users should also include the appropriate trademark symbol, such as ® or TM, next to the trademark. However, writers exercising free speech under the First Amendment can use trademarks, such as the Six Flags logo, in stories, articles and documentaries, even if the creative work is critical of the company owning the trademark.
Writers and other artists can also imitate trademarks in parody if they use them humorously and the imitations are obviously not the originals and do not confuse customers, according to Nolo. Trademark regulations allow companies to use the trademarks of other companies when making accurate comparisons in advertisements, but they cannot modify the trademark, or the company holding the trademark can sue them for dilution.
Trademark litigation usually occurs in federal court, notes the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The company holding the trademark must prove to the court not only that the defendant uses the trademark, but that the use causes consumer confusion. Courts also consider the defendant's intent, how it markets its goods or services, its customer base and the strength of the infringed trademark.