I've been trying to find a decent answer to this question for days but no luck so far. I've decided to pose the question to you all, and hopefully some of you will know the answer.
Tarzan is in the public domain as far as I understand (http://pdsh.wikia.com/wiki/Tarzan). However, Tarzan is also trademarked (http://tsdr.uspto.gov/#caseNumber=86196785&caseType=SERIAL_NO&searchType=statusSearch). I want to include him as a supporting character in my story. I don't plan on having his name be in the title, his likeness in the illustrations, or have him ever appear in the marketing, cover flap, merchandise, etc.
So my question is: can I include public domain characters that have been trademarked in my story as long as I keep them inside the pages and away from the title/marketing? Or does the fact that they are trademarked mean they can never be in my story?
I know you are writers and generally not lawyers, so you don't have to say IANAL.
I'm interested from a US perspective.
Thanks for the help!