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Can you use a trademarked product as a ingredient in your product?

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In the United States, it is common for trademarked goods to be used as ingredients in a manufacturer's products. And if the trademarked ingredient has a reputation for high quality, a manufacturer might even want to use that fact as a selling point (though if the ingredient is part of a secret recipe, he may not want to publicize it). For example, you could legally use M&Ms brand candies as an ingredient in your retail ice cream. If you advertised the fact that you use real M&Ms, it would be good marketing for both your ice cream and for the company that makes M&Ms, at least if the public liked your ice cream!
The main purpose of a manufacturer's trademarking the name of its product is to prevent other people from passing off imitation goods as the real thing by giving it the same name as the trademarked name. Other manufacturers cannot legally make counterfeit M&Ms and call them "M&Ms".
A trademark is used to prevent others from using the name, so that if you buy a bag labelled "M&Ms", you have more assurance that you are getting the real thing. And if that trademark is strong, the more likely it will be that the public perceives M&Ms as being different from (and hopefully better than) any other similar product. The purpose is to ingrain in consumers' minds the uniqueness of M&Ms, in that only one manufacturer is legally allowed to call its candies M&Ms.
But as long as you aren't making phony M&Ms and passing them off under that trademarked name, you are free to use them in any product you wish to make.
Thanks for the feedback!

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