Using someone’s Trademark in your book, blog or website is something that you need permission to do. Generally, trademark owners monitor use of their registered trademarks diligently and will often send cease and desist letters asking that unauthorized uses of their trademark be removed. (For example the NFL and POPSICLE trademarks are heavily monitored and policed in this way.)
How do you figure out if a word is a registered trademark? Sometimes you can tell by doing a quick GOOGLE search, or for a more definitive search look on in the USPTO’s list of registered trademarks. Here are instructions for running a basic USPTO (US Patent and Trademark Office) search to see if a word is a trademark:
- Click – http://tess2.uspto.gov/
- Then Click on – New User Form Search (Basic)
- Enter your business name in the ‘Search Term’ field
- Click – ‘Submit Query’
- To be really comprehensive, Back-page and search the key words in your business name separately
If you discover that a word is a trademark, it is possible that the trademark owner will give you permission to use their mark… ask em.
You might enjoy knowing that the inspiration for this post came up last night while I was talking to my mom. She is currently writing a children’s story about a horse that likes specific types of candies as treats. So, in order to list the candies in the text of her story, it’s important to know which ones are trademarks and which ones are not. This way she can acquire the needed permissions to use the trademarks. (my mom’s site — http://www.bayouponytales.com/)
BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.