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Unread 24th Jan 2011, 04:29 AM   #1
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Default Can I trademark a Book Title Before I Write The Book?

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

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Unread 24th Jan 2011, 04:45 AM   #2
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Default Re: Can I trademark a Book Title Before I Write The Book?

You can't copyright a title.
And trademarking doesn't really apply to titles.
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Unread 24th Jan 2011, 04:53 AM   #3
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Default Re: Can I trademark a Book Title Before I Write The Book?

Quote:
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.

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Unread 24th Jan 2011, 04:55 AM   #4
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Default Re: Can I trademark a Book Title Before I Write The Book?

Quote:
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.

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Unread 24th Jan 2011, 06:51 AM   #5
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Default Re: Can I trademark a Book Title Before I Write The Book?

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

Quote:
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.

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Unread 24th Jan 2011, 07:23 AM   #6
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Default Re: Can I trademark a Book Title Before I Write The Book?

If you want secrecy, hire an attorney.

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Unread 26th Jan 2011, 09:04 AM   #7
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Default Re: Can I trademark a Book Title Before I Write The Book?

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 ...

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Unread 26th Jan 2011, 09:07 AM   #8
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Default Re: Can I trademark a Book Title Before I Write The Book?

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.

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Unread 26th Jan 2011, 10:23 AM   #9
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Default Re: Can I trademark a Book Title Before I Write The Book?

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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