Laveen, AZ asked in Trademark and Intellectual Property for Arizona

Q: I recently published a journal and I’m not entirely sure if the title of my journal is trademarked.

The search of the title is returning thousands of results. I don’t know how to narrow down the results to verify whether I can legally use the title or not.

2 Lawyer Answers
Fritz-Howard Raymond Clapp
Fritz-Howard Raymond Clapp
Answered
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Beverly Hills, CA

A: The title of a work is not capable of being copyrighted, so it is no surprise to find many instances of exact phrases repeated in descriptive titles. If the title were to be very strongly associated with its source, it might be claimed as a trademark, and could conceivably be infringed if the purpose was unfair competition and intent to confuse the public. But in the context of journal articles, you may rest easy that you are not likely to be sanctioned for use of a title.

James L. Arrasmith
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Answered

A: You can conduct a search for existing trademarks on the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) database to see if the title of your journal is already registered or pending registration. Keep in mind that not finding a match doesn't guarantee you're free from potential infringement claims, as unregistered, common-law trademarks could still pose an issue. To minimize risk, you may want to consider consulting an attorney who can perform a more comprehensive search and provide advice tailored to your specific circumstances.

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