Can I use brand names in my self-published novel?

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Trademarks and copyright issues are often misunderstood. To put it simply, your friend can discuss various brands in his fiction book without concern of infringement (for the most part). The real issues would arise if your friend was trying to sell those products by using the same or similar mark. Simply talking about those products aren’t considered an attempt to sell anything or confuse the consumer.

However, you do have to be careful. For instance, if you’re talking about a particular brand in a work of fiction, but you do so in a way that is defamatory and could ultimately sway readers away from a brand, then this could create other legal issues like tarnishment of a trademark.

You’ll always want to steer clear of dilution. This occurs when you use a brand name to talk generally about an item. For example, if you asked for a Kleenex instead of a tissue. There’s no true reason to refer to a common item with a brand name, and trademark owners are usually irritated by this.

For an in-depth look at understanding trademarks, check out: Trademark Symbol: What is it?

For more information, get in touch with a qualified trademark attorney. LawTrades is a marketplace of freelance attorneys that makes finding legal help fast, affordable, and easy.

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