August 11, 2010

How to Research Trademarks | printable version

We decided on a title for our book but there is another book from 1994 (with the same main title).

One of the co-authors thought we would have a problem with copyright infringement. I thought we would only have a problem if we used the exact same title of another published book. Do you think our title would be okay?

John

Titles can't be copyrighted but they can be trademarked.

To search registered trademarks, go to:
http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/index.jsp

Click on:
Search Marks

Then click on:
New User Form Search (Basic)

You should also use your favorite search engine to look for any phrase you intend to use because, even if somebody has not yet registered a trademark for a phrase, they can still claim ownership if they used it first. You would not be able to register a trademark if somebody else owns that name/phrase. If you were able to register it (if the pre-use wasn't noticed by your or your attorney), you could lose it if the person who create the phrase first decides to challenge you.

While there are many books on the market with identical titles, it's never a good idea to give your book a title that's already been used by someone else.


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