Can a book title be trademarked [Video]

Last updated : Sept 25, 2022
Written by : Angelena Kreiter
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Can a book title be trademarked

Can the title of a book be copyrighted?

A: Copyrights cover works fixed in a tangible format, but because titles are typically short, they don't fall under copyright protection. So no, you can't copyright a title to a book, song, or movie. But you can trademark a title, which may give you the protection you seek.

How much does it cost to trademark a book title?

Updated November 16, 2020: How much does it cost to trademark a name? The current fees for the USPTO for an electronic application range between $275 and $325 for each class of goods and services.

Can you trademark the title of a book or movie?

Generally, the title to a single motion picture is not entitled to trademark protection. This is the same for the title to single books, songs and other singular creative works.

How do I protect my book title?

But if you want to safeguard your copyright, you need to do more. By registering the copyright to your book with the U.S. Copyright Office, you protect your ability to enforce your rights over your book against any infringement of those rights. You can do this yourself or simplify the process by using a service.

Can two books have same title?

Make Your Book Title Original Titles cannot be copyrighted in the United States. Therefore, two or more books can have the same title. However, if you use a title that is the same or very similar to another book, it makes it hard for your title to stand out.

Can I use a brand name in my book title?

Mentioning a brand name in a work of fiction is generally considered fair use* unless it goes so far as to infringe on the rights of the owner.

What is the difference between copyright and trademark?

Copyright protects original work, whereas a trademark protects items that distinguish or identify a particular business from another. Copyright is generated automatically upon the creation of original work, whereas a trademark is established through common use of a mark in the course of business.

How long does a trademark last?

A federal trademark lasts 10 years from the date of registration, with 10-year renewal terms. Between the fifth and sixth year after the registration date, the registrant must file an affidavit to state that the mark is still in use.

Can you use a book title that already been used?

So, the good news is that copyright law says you can use a title that's already been used by another book.

How do you trademark a book name?

  1. Select the name of your series.
  2. Do a Trademark Search.
  3. File the Application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
  4. Track the progress of your application.
  5. Achieve Registration.

Is my book title taken?

If you want to see if a title has been trademarked, you can use TESS, the online search at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Then you can start the trademark process.

Should I copyright my book before sending it to a publisher?

Should I Register My Story for Copyright Before Submitting It to Publishers? You can register your book before submitting it to the publisher, but there is no need to do this. It may create unnecessary confusion and extra costs down the line.

When should you copyright a book?

A literary work is copyrighted as soon as the words are written down, typed, or otherwise recorded. Therefore, copyright protection for your novel begins as soon as you have written it. You do not need to place a copyright notice on your book or register it with the copyright office to receive copyright protection.

Can I publish the same book with different titles?

They can't have identical content, even if they have a different cover, title, and author. When the new version is ready to be published, unpublish the old version and publish the new one.

Can you patent a book?

Before we dive in, here's a quick overview on patents and copyrights: a patent protects inventions and designs, like engines or a phone casing, and a copyright protects original artistic and literary works, like songs or books.

How do I know if a book is copyrighted?

For books published after 1975, you can visit You enter an author or title and see the registration number and the year that the copyright was registered. For older works, you can contact the Library of Congress directly and either pay them to do a search for you or do the search for yourself.

Can a book title violate a trademark?

The law is clear that you cannot trademark individual book titles, but a title for a series of books can be trademarked since it serves the role of a brand.

Can you mention Disney in a book?

Fictional and cartoon characters are protected by a combination of copyright law, trademark law, and unfair competition law, and Disney has a reputation as one of the most litigious companies in the entertainment world. If your book used all...

Can you put someone name in a book without their permission?

The First Amendment usually wins unless the work is purely advertising, including political advertising. Using someone's name, image or life story as part of a novel, book, movie or other “expressive” work is protected by the First Amendment, even if the expressive work is sold or displayed.

What can you not trademark?

  • Proper names or likenesses without consent from the person.
  • Generic terms, phrases, or the like.
  • Government symbols or insignia.
  • Vulgar or disparaging words or phrases.
  • The likeness of a U.S. President, former or current.
  • Immoral, deceptive, or scandalous words or symbols.
  • Sounds or short motifs.

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Can a book title be trademarked

Comment by Merlyn Mullis

can i use a book title as a trademark i get this question a lot so i wanted to cover it here i'm angela langlotz trademark and copyright attorney smash the like button and be sure to share this video if you think other people might find it useful i go live here every weekday to talk trademarks and copyrights so i get this question a lot i got this question just yesterday as a matter of fact can a book title serve as a trademark and the answer is no it can't it's specifically excluded and there's a reason why so we don't register descriptive marks and the title of a book merely describes the title of the book right it's not used as a trademark remember that a trademark is a source identifier so a trademark for example tells you what company those particular goods and services come from and a book title standing alone doesn't do that it doesn't tell you what company is publishing the book now on the other hand here's a way to get around that on the other hand if you have a series of books you can register a trademark for that why because it's not the title of a singular work there is actually a series i.e more than one book that has that brand on it so it allows us to know what company is producing that that series of books for example this is chicken soup for the soul right so if you look really carefully you can actually see there is a little circle r i'm doing this backwards here right here let me just get a little bit closer you can see there's a little circle r right below that chicken soup for the soul uh it's a it's a registered trademark and there are all kinds of chicken soup for the soul books and they put it also on the spine you can see it says chicken soup for the soul and there's a little circle art it's just really hard to see on camera so if you have a series of books you can absolutely register a trademark for that but not a single work so please don't try to apply for a trademark application based on the book title it will be refused because it's not serving as a trademark i'm angela langelott's trademark and copyright attorney and you can find me on youtube just search trademark doctor which is my brand and you can also find me here on facebook and also on the internet at if you have questions drop them in the comments below and i will answer those on a future live video

Thanks for your comment Merlyn Mullis, have a nice day.
- Angelena Kreiter, Staff Member

Comment by Billye

hey everybody andy nelson so the question is can you trademark your book title your book title okay the short answer is no you can't do it and here's why what do trademarks do they are symbols of a brand they point to a single source of goods or services so think about this way does a book title point can you think of a particular publisher you may not even know the brand but do you think of it as coming from one particular source most likely that's not the case book title identifies the book itself not the source of goods or services i don't mean the author the author yes it identifies the author maybe but that's not really the source of goods or services that's like blank publisher or what have you so book titles really don't do that um and so therefore they can't really function as trademarks with a few exceptions one exception is if the book title is part of a series so the most common example that i give is the blank for dummies series right you see the four dummies you know fill in the blank subject matter in advance that four dummies kind of title gets uh you know pumped out there over and over and over again and so that sort of title as part of a series can function because as a trademark because it does point to a single source you think of a single source as producing those four dummies books and then it's companion somebody else doing it or who knows maybe it's his own company doing the blank for idiot series you know with their orange and white uh kind of coloring on the book and four dummies being yellow and black um so those sorts of cereals there's probably other examples as well that's one example other example is if the book title is actually used to identify products or services that aren't it's not the book itself oddly enough can function as a trademark so i'll use john steinbeck okay so grapes of wrath here this is great one of his titles uh if you use grapes of wrath or somebody uses grapes of wrath to put out uh i don't know let's say how about notepads okay or how about wine or something like that okay you start the consumer starts making the association between that title and those other sorts of products um coming from one source yeah then the association starts to get made and you've got trademark functioning not just identifying the book itself so that's kind of the other example of how a book title could take on trademarks to any significance but not in connection with the book itself anyway uh i hope that wasn't too confusing i hope that cleared it up some again think about the function of trademarks they have to identify be a symbol of a single source of goods or services and book titles typically don't do that so anyway any questions about this video drop me a note uh drop a comment if you know someone else who has been dying to know the answer to this question feel free to share this video with them alright until next time i'll talk soon bye

Thanks Billye your participation is very much appreciated
- Angelena Kreiter

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