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Archived Message:

Question about product names

misa I have found so much information here. What a great forum.
So here is my silly question.
I am writing a how to book and wondered about using product names. Do I have to contact the company and ask permission or can I just write the name and address of the company somewhere in the book.

Posted on: 5:59 pm on August 10, 2003
EBookCompiler This is not legal advice. I am not a lawyer, not qualified to give legal advice. Consult an attorney if you need legal advice.

It probably would be a good idea to write and ask

If it pertains to trademarks, there can be a distinct difference between factual/descriptive use, as opposed to using them in your own marketing.

Be careful about copying content - as without permission - that can easily be a copyright violation

Use google to look up legal sites about copyright or trademarks as applicable.

As far as Answers 2000 Limited's sites or products are concerned, you have permission to use our product names or link to our web sites in a descriptive way, as long as it is not likely to mislead or confuse the reader.

Posted on: 3:51 pm on August 13, 2003
Neenah13 Depends on how you want to use them. For instance, if you want to mention Kleenex tissues, the proper way is to say exactly that. Not simply Kleenex. People will know what you're talking about, but you're making the product's name seem generic, as if every tissue was a Kleenex.

Asprin was a brand name to begin with. However, since the company didn't trademark the name, it's in general use today to mean any similar pain/fever reducer.

We fiction writers have been encouraged to let people know what brand of sneakers our characters favor or what sort of car they drive. It's not wrong to say they eat Oreo cookies or Snickers candy bars, and drive a Mercedes and job in Nike crosstrainers. It's wrong to use the names in a way that implies that Oreo describes all chocolate sandwich cookies, or that Nike is just another way of saying sneakers, etc.  You will be in trouble for things like that.

There is a site you can check on these things. It'shttp://www.ivanhoffman.com Mr. Hoffman is a lawyer who specializes in publishing law. He's got a ton of info on his site and adding all the while. Brand names and trademarks among them. From time to time he posts to the self-publishing elist I belong to, letting us know of changes going on that might affect us. Check it out, and good luck to you.


Posted on: 8:12 am on February 26, 2004

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