I used the name Primus and Primes for my book and these are from the transformers universe. My concept is totally different. Is this a copyright infringement?

I introduced a secret society named "The Primus" in my book. In the transformers universe, Primus is the entity that created Autobots.

In my book I also included that the Prime is the superior rank in the secret society of Primus.

Do I need to change the names before publication?

  • Welcome to Writing.SE Niranjan Mahajan, glad you found us. Please check out our tour and help center. Your publisher will help you figure out the title for your book (unless you are self-publishing).
    – Cyn
    Aug 28, 2019 at 14:55
  • 1
    Please check out this question which is very similar to yours, to the point that it might be considered a duplicate. writing.stackexchange.com/questions/46546/…
    – Cyn
    Aug 28, 2019 at 14:55

2 Answers 2


'Primus' means 'first' in Latin. Just as you cannot copyright the word 'first', you cannot copyright 'primus'. Same goes for 'prime'. Or any other common word. If in some fantasy universe, the entity that creates whatevers is called 'The King', I can still have kings and queens in my literature, and Jordan can continue having a very real king sitting on the throne.

There are multiple fictional entities named 'Primus', as well as a band, a journal, a TV series, and several companies. It's also a church title. Source.


As @Galastel mentioned, you don't legally need to change the name, so if all that you are worried about is the legal aspect you're in the clear.

However, I must admit that when I saw your title, the Transformers was what sprang into my head, even though I'm not a Transformers fan.

If there are no other obvious similarities in your book to the Transformers I would probably forget that first impression fairly quickly. However, if there are other similarities, readers may see you as having "copied" from the Transformer universe. They might suspect that your writing sprang from fanfic which has "had its serial number filed off", which may make people leary of the book because fanfic has gained a (not unjustified) reputation for being poorly written.

And it might not even matter if there are similarities. Humans are hard-wired to see patterns and make connections. Apophenia is the clinical term for it, I believe. Once you make a connection between two things, you are more inclined to find others.

This might not necessarily be a completely bad thing. Transformers has been a "thing" for a lot of years and fans of the universe may read your book because of your title. But if they don't get what they are expecting, there may be a backlash, which might translate into more negative reviews.

If you want to steer clear of associations with Transformers, you might want to change the name. If you don't care, keep it.

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