Many people are loyal to certain brands and trademarks, and associated themselves with certain brands. Buying all the stuff in the categories that the brand is active. But what if the brand is an old one, and no longer really active? What if the original company has been through multiple bankruptcies? The example at hand is Commodore.

Let me just say that I will base this on Swedish legislation as that is what I know, but much IPR (Intelectual Property Right) is globally applicable. Most of the same rules apply in most countries given that the foundation is based on international agreements, such as the Bern convention from 1886.

Copyright needs no registration. It just happens and the protection is 70 years from public release or 70 years from the death of the author.

Brands/Trademarks require registration as a default. There is a rather complex structure of registration, so depending on where you register it could have a varied regional reach. You can for example register in Sweden but also make a universal EU registration for this region.
We also acknowledge registrations in states connected to the Parisconvention of 1883. We also acknowledge trademarks from countries that acknowledge rights of Swedish trademarks (reciprocity). We also acknowledge registrations by WIPO.

However if a sufficient number of people in the target audience recognises a brand/trademark, it can be seen as held even without registration.

The right means that no one is allowed to use the brand can use it for the purpose of what’s defined in law. Basically you can’t use it, or anything that is close enough so that there is a risk for mixing up another product with the original one.

There are a few exceptions where similar brands can be used in parallel, but these are really slim exceptions. In principle, you need to show a reasonable level of activity to defend your brand, or you could be seen as accepting the other brand, and brands can coexist. (here and here)

Duration of the right is normally ten years.

You can still lose the right for a number of reasons. The most interesting reason might be that if you haven’t used the brand on the Swedish market for the last five years for no legit reason.

Penalty for abuse of someone else’s trademarks is listed here.

SO, NO you cannot legally correct sell a mug with a Commodore or Amiga logo on it unless you have obtained the rights from the legal holder of the brand/trademark. It doesn’t matter if you sell it at no profit or for charity. It doesn’t matter. You are using the rights of someone else and that you are not entitled to – zero tolerance.

Is this reasonable, is the risk of getting caught big? Well these are other questions. This text only aimed to establish the legal foundation of trademarks. It IS a breach to use brands and is pickpocketing and speeding. Still doing them, calculating the risk of getting caught in these different cases will be between you and your moral.

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