28

Here is the entry for thalidomide in Merriam-Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary (1983): thalidomide n {phthalic acid + -id- (fr. imide) + -o- + imide} (1962) : a sedative and hypnotic drug C13H10N2O4 that has been the cause of malformation of infants born to mothers using it during pregnancy What this entry means is that thalidomide is a generic ...


8

Here's a common sense rule: if it has ever been mass-manufactured as a toy then it is licensed property and has IP protection. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellectual_property Ironman's armor and SW lightsabers are not "stock" items appearing across unrelated genre works. Compare to medieval knight armor or barbarian swords which are "stock" items. A ...


8

The other answers correctly point out that "thalidomide" is a generic drug and is not trademarked. But I'd like to answer the more general question, which is if/how you can refer to a trademark in a work of fiction. In a website article, Using Trademarks in Fiction, the author describes 3 issues to consider: “product disparagement,” “trademark dilution” ...


6

You can use the trademark name without problems while you're not doing a story about that character, i.e."He was as strong as Superman" is fine. For further information, I recommend you this article: http://www.rightsofwriters.com/2010/12/can-i-mention-brand-name-products-in-my.html


5

As long as you're just making references that don't portray them in a negative light, you're fine for brands and celebrities. Things like Jaguar or Rice Krispies don't really date a work, either. Fictional characters, however, are copyrighted for a long time. So no using Luke skywalker as a character. Your characters can talk about Luke, swing swords around ...


4

There are probably lots of names and titles that are coincidentally repeated in multiple books. To take a silly extreme, if someone tried to sue saying "He had a character in his book named John, and I have a character in my book named John. He's stealing my character name!", I can't imagine the courts would let that go very far. You can own a trademark in ...


4

Within reason, if the name itself is not already instantly recognizable (Bart Simpson, Lara Croft, James Bond), you can probably get away with using it. "Trent Steele" may be generic enough. Similarly, there are only so many variants and arrangements of organization and darkness, so whatever you come up with has probably been used or alluded to elsewhere. ...


4

It depends on the style guide you are using. APA format (and I believe Chicago) specify not using TM or R in the text. I suspect that most style guides say the same. TM = trademark, which a company (or anyone else) can use without a registration with the government. It provides some common law protection. R = registered trademark, which means they've been ...


4

Well, here's some information from the page "More Information on Fair Use" at copyright.gov. The law "calls for consideration of the following four factors in evaluating a question of fair use:" Purpose and character of the use, including whether the use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes: Courts look at how the party ...


4

Read my answer to your question yesterday about copyright. The courts will look at the totality of your work. If they find the work is "substantially similar" then you infringe copyright. So if your suit is exactly the same, YES, you probably infringe; Iron Man's suit is a product of somebody else's imagination, the way it works and looks is the product of ...


4

Iron Man wasn't the first person to don Power Armor. That would be Juan "Johnnie" Rico from the sci-fi novel Starship Trooper by Robert Heinlein. Even then, the novel is said to have only "popularized" the concept, not be the outright creator of it. Even wishing to make an Iron Man styled superhero, there are a lot of other popular power armor heroes out ...


4

Names are not copyrighted. However, some can be trademarked. To clarify what that means: a copyright fully protects an entire work of authorship, i.e. a book, movie or work of art. a trademark represents a specific part of your brand or product, and is usually used for names, slogans or logos. (Source) So you cannot legally "copyright" a name, ...


3

I am not a lawyer, and you should consult a lawyer before you start naming your competitor's brands and products in any publication. It probably isn't worth it; especially if they are bigger than you and it doesn't cost them much (relative to their income) to be trigger-happy with the lawsuits. I'd also be careful what you SAY about the other product, any ...


3

Basically this goes in line with what I stated above, making the name one word is more than likely not an adequate enough of a change. See this link for more details. Transformative Use Another way to legally use Disney characters could be to use them in what the law refers to as "transformative use." Transformative use requires that you change, or ...


3

Yes you can as long as it isn't the main focus. If in doubt, you may want try to contact the author ask for permission. That's what I did. Never got a response but at least I tried.


3

Can a name be copyrighted? No! However, a unique name used in your book is covered by copyright along with your works. But it does not afford you any protection until such time the name has a "secondary meaning." In other words, when the characters name becomes recognized as belonging to your work as a "source identifier." Once you meet the above two ...


3

I'm also not a lawyer, and neither am I in the U.S. but I'll try a swing at this... The author of a derivative work (fanfic) certainly can register their copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. The author is expected to only claim copyright on their original contributions; any other claim would be void. Only the separable, original parts can be ...


3

Adding to the answer by @laurenipsum: Her answer applies also to an original that is out of copyright. For example, anybody can make any story they want using the original characters and setting from Les Miserables, since that is out of copyright. The writers of Les Miz can't sue you for that (well, not successfully). But, if you use characters original ...


3

The reason your method works is that most people who make legally questionable threats are trying to scare you with their own fears. When you shine a light on something that scares them, they back off. This does not make your counter threat any more valid than theirs. It also does not work on people who are knowledgeable or not afraid of suit, except when ...


3

I am not a lawyer. This is based on my understanding of U.S. copyright laws. Any part of B's story which is unique to B is, I believe, the property of B. So if B is writing an X-Files fanfic about Mulder, Scully, and an original character who is a female agent for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, and C writes a parody-bordering-on-plagiarism ...


3

There is nothing wrong with Chris' answer, but I'd like to add two things. First, (c) (from the title of the question) or more accurately ©, is copyright, which is not used with company or service names. So you would never write Facebook©, although if appropriate you may write © Facebook. Second, ® - as I am sure you are aware, but adding it for ...


3

There's nothing---NOTHING!---in the detailed list given by you that's forbidden, if used, just as you described, in a "passing reference." NOR is there any problem with mentioning real businesses or hotels, UNLESS you do so in a derogatory way; such as: "I stayed three nights in the SOUTH NARK hotel, right off Broadway, in New York. And it took me three ...


3

In description, unless you're trying to capture a folksy voice, they're Lego bricks, with a capital L (it's a trademark). An individual one is a Lego brick, or just brick. Of course, people sometimes call them Legos in real life, so you could use that term in dialogue, even though it's not officially correct. I would still give it the capital L though. ...


3

What you're talking about here is trademark law. "Pepsi", "League of Legends", etc, are trademarks. It's completely legal to refer to someone else's trademark, as long as you use it properly. But there are two big catches. Number 1: You can't use someone else's trademark as your own. You can say, "George liked to play League of Legends". But you can't make ...


2

There is no problem in using public places in your books, including the Moscow Metro. In fact the Moscow Metro is already the setting of the Metro-series of novels by russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. No problem here.


2

A data point for you, even within the time-travel subgenre: John Varley used the titles of other author's time-travel stories as chapter titles in his novel https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_(novel) I found it no trouble to write a book with chapter titles borrowed almost exclusively from the long list of stories that served, in one way or ...


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