Can I trademark a Book Title Before I Write The Book?

Profile picture of the author David by
Hey gang, I want to write a physical book and release it as both an ebook and kindle book.
(so that's 3 channels: physical book, downloadable ebook and amazon kindle electronic book)

I've got the book concept, and the proposed title for the book.
The title will probably make or break the book itself.

Can I trademark or copyright the title of a US copyrighted book in advance of the body of the book?

Thanks for taking the time to answer
#internet marketing #book #title #trademark #write

  • Profile picture of the author KirkMcD
    You can't copyright a title.
    And trademarking doesn't really apply to titles.
  • Profile picture of the author David
    Originally Posted by KirkMcD View Post

    You can't copyright a title.
    And trademarking doesn't really apply to titles.
    damn... then I'd better write the damn thing in total secrecy, and make damn sure it's the best product I can make it.

    I'm thinking that having a catchy title is more than half the battle.
  • Profile picture of the author Colin Palfrey
    Originally Posted by KirkMcD View Post

    You can't copyright a title.
    And trademarking doesn't really apply to titles.
    I have purchased books in the bookstore with the same name as another book. You can't copyright a title, but you can copyright it in context.

    For example, if I right a book on paragliding called "The perfect Para" then you couldn't make a book on paragliding with the same name (there are rules about deceptive marketing). However, you could write a book on paratroopers with the same title I used. A poor example I know, but it was the first thing that came to mind.

    The reasons are complex, but basically that is how it works.

    One thing to note is that you cannot copyright something you may do theoretically in the future, it has to be a real thing, and up for sale.

    Hope this helps.
  • Profile picture of the author davezan
    Originally Posted by KirkMcD View Post

    You can't copyright a title.
    And trademarking doesn't really apply to titles.
    Originally Posted by Jonathan Dunsky View Post

    I don't think you can copyright or trademark titles. It has to be an entire work of art.
    The Protection of Book Titles

    Under the United States trademark law, titles of single works generally cannot be registered as trademarks but titles used in a series may be capable of registration if the marks otherwise qualify.
  • Profile picture of the author tpw
    If you want secrecy, hire an attorney.
  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
    As commented above, copyright doesn't exist in titles. Which is how there's a movie called "Independence Day" and another entirely unconnected one called "Independence Day", so many examples of well-known books sharing a title, and so on ...
  • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
    Trademark Before Use?

    Yes. You file what is called an "Intent to Use" application with the USPTO. The benefit is giving constructive notice of the mark with a filing date.


    Trademark of Book Titles?

    General rule of thumb - no, unless you have a series of related titles.
  • Profile picture of the author IdeaLady
    As has been pointed out, you can not copyright a title.

    It may be eligible for trademark protection, but trademarks can be complicated. You should check with an intellectual property attorney.

    Before doing that, you can review information about trademarks so you understand the concept and ask the right questions. Nolo Press has an excellent book on trademarks: Amazon.com: Trademark: Legal Care for Your...Amazon.com: Trademark: Legal Care for Your...
    You may be able to get inexpensive or free legal advice through a Small Business Development Center. These are collaborations between the Small Business Administration and local colleges. Check with your nearest SBA office to find one.

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