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Is a Trademark Necessary?

Posted by . updated on 11/11/2009
I am self-publishing a book I wrote and am going to set up a publishing company (sole proprietorship) for it. I have  a few questions regarding trademarks. I know that when you copyright something that it isn't the copyright registration that gives you the right to it and that the copyright was yours regardless of whether you register it.  Registration just gives you proof it existed at a certain date. But I'm unsure of how it works for trademarks.

I have checked the trademark website and nobody has a trademark registered for my publishing company name. I am not planning on registering it for a trademark. So if somebody comes along and decides to register that name for a trademark after I form my company and have published the book, can they prevent me from using my own company name?

The second issue is similar to the first.  This is a book about economics.  In it, I coin a new phase for an economic  concept.  For the sake of argument, lets say there was no such thing as capitalism yet, and the term was "capitalism." After I used the term capitalism, everybody would start writing about it as well.  I don't really want anyone to be prevented from using the term in their writing just as long as they credit me as the original source. But could somebody else come along and trademark the term after I released my book, and claim that I didn't have the right to use it in future writings?  Or would it be enough that I had the copyright registration to the work and proved that I sold some of my books, so I coined the phrase? Just out of curiosity, what if I did want to prevent other people from writing about the term and its concepts, could I prevent them from using the term?

Thanks
Answers (1)
 
JSonnabend
Regarding trademark registration, as first to use you'd have senior rights to those who began use after you.  That said, there are some limitation to this principle and registration is highly advisable.

Regarding the new term, it doesn't sound to me like you're using it in a trademark capacity.  If that's the case, you don't have trademark rights to it and there's nothing to register.

- Jeff
 

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