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What is the point of doing a trademark search on the title and individual chapters for an eBook?

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What is the point of doing a trademark search on the title and individual chapters? What happens if my company was creating a book called How to have success in online dating and there is another company that has an eBook under the same name? Can I get a lawsuit over this?

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Attorney answers 4


So you gave up on "Online Dating Concierge", I take it? And now you are back with another question that tells us all you need to see a lawyer but are hoping to use Avvo to avoid hiring a lawyer. BIG MISTAKE.

"How to have success in online dating" for a book title. Sure, you can use that generic title. And, the prior one cannot claim any copyright or trademark in a generic title like that. But, you are being rather foolish and letting the tail wag the dog. Just like the prior author can't stop you, you would not be able to stop anyone else from using the same title. So, there could be fifteen new books with that title and your book would then be just one of 17 and you would sell about 5 copies total unless you had some special gimmick you don't mention. Wouldn't you think it smarter to get a catchy title you might be able to protect as YOUR trademark and merchandise or make a trademark for a series of books. That seemed to work pretty well for George Lucas who just sold STAR WARS to Disney for billions of dollars. And JK Rowling has done reasonably well with HARRY POTTER series and merchandise - to the tune of several billion dollars.

You're worried about a lawsuit, when you should be worried about establishing a unique brand identity. You need to get an attorney, as you are pretty much an amateur at this and off to a very bad start.

I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is at your sole risk. This is done without compensation as a free public service. I am licensed in IL, MO, TX and I am a Reg. Pat. Atty. so advice in any other jurisdiction is strictly general advice and should be confirmed with an attorney licensed in that jurisdiction.


The answer to your legal question is that there aren't any trademark or copyright rights that typically flow from the title of a single book, nor from the heading of a single chapter.

But it is possible for such rights to be developed from a series of books, or from a marketing campaign that seeks to franchise on related merchandise.

This posting is intended for general education and isn't "legal advice." It doesn't create or evidence an attorney-client relationship. You are encouraged to engage an attorney in the pertinent jurisdiction for confidential legal advice on matters of any importance. -Gerry J. Elman, J.D. Elman Technology Law, P.C. Swarthmore, PA


You can always get into a lawsuit, if you are doing anything at all in the commercial world. But unless you are using a name similar to the names of others in a way that confusion might arise, you are probably okay.

Best to get a local attorney to address the actual situation here. If you can't afford a few hundred dollars to get some professional advice on the matter, then you probably haven't enough money to do any project like this properly.

I'm not your attorney; my answer includes assumptions. If you want me to be your attorney, I'm easy to find.


It is hard to answer your quesiton without more details. But in general, there is no point to do a trademark search on the title of a book. Re copyright, there is no copyright in an idea, but only its expression, so you can have a book with the same title, as long as your book is not "substantially similar" to the other one.

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