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Old 03-13-2018, 03:16 PM
RCharleston RCharleston is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 482
Titles Question

I’m assuming this falls under the category of “Titles are fair game.” but I want to double check using a fictitious example...

If I wanted to entitle an ongoing comic strip, “Stories of the Northwestern Tundra” and I discover via Google that someone else has published a “Stories of the Northwestern Tundra” as some sort of anthropological study/travel blog am I still clear, as per US law, to use this title?
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Old 03-13-2018, 04:24 PM
DaveCrow DaveCrow is offline
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 1,896
Re: Titles Question

I believe you are OK as far as copyright goes. If the other "Stories of the Northwestern Tundra" was trademarked you may find yourself being challenged to prove that yours is a different kind of product and will not cause confusion in the arket place as to which is which.

An anthropological study/travel blog and an ongoing comic strip are probably different enough to not be a problem.

I have seen numerous works in the marketplace with the same or very similar titles. But bear in mind that I am not a lawyer.
"Let the paint be paint" --John Marin
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Old 03-17-2018, 09:45 AM
Use Her Name's Avatar
Use Her Name Use Her Name is offline
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Re: Titles Question

Per US Copyright Law: Copyright protection does not extend to titles, names, slogans or short phrases.
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Old 03-17-2018, 11:22 AM
Harold Roth Harold Roth is online now
Pawtucket, RI
Join Date: Sep 2013
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Re: Titles Question

You can trademark a name, which is different from copyright, but you have to be able to show that the name has not been in common use prior to your attempt to trademark it. And you usually trademark a name for a specific category, like a name you want to use for types of perfume (other people can then go ahead and trademark the same phrase for another category, like soap). Also, you are supposed to use the trademark symbol after it whenever you use the name or title or whatever from that time on to show that you are protecting your trademark. Otherwise, someone can come along and make the argument that the trademarked phrase has fallen into common use, like kleenex. Trademarking is expensive--IME, it can cost about $500 and that is without the help of a lawyer.

I have witnessed a couple of real long drawn-out battles over trademarked phrases. It is not pretty and talk about expensive.
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