Should you register your book’s name as a trademark? As a trademark attorney, I hesitate to say no, but the truth is, if you are registering a trademark or books, it generally would be for the publication of the book or books under different titles. Harper Collins probably has a trademark registered for publication, but also for the printing and publication of the books. So the printing services and then the actual physical books themselves.
The name of the book is usually not something that people need to trademark, often the title will be descriptive, and if it is descriptive then it might not be something that you can register. Sometimes people who want to register a book name also may have the book titles as the business name, the brand name, or the URL. Or they could have courses under the same name, in that situation it’s more valuable to get the name registered because it’s not just a book title, but it’s a whole income generating set of goods and services.
So then do you get it registered in the class for books, which is printed material class 16? I always recommend class nine for my clients who have written books because class nine is electronic books, but it also includes things like apps, online training courses as it’s the class for electronic material. Now, if money is no object, certainly get it registered for the online and the printed version of the books. But most of my clients have a limited budget, and so I always advise the electronic version because it gives you more bang for your buck, as you get protected for a bigger group of goods. Also if you registered for electronic books, you get protected for anything that would be considered to be similar goods.
A paper book and an electronic book would most likely be considered similar goods. So by having it in the electronic class, you’ve got some crossover protection for the printed publication. Of course, if you’re a magazine editor and you publish magazines, then I would recommend you definitely have the registration in the printed class as well as the electronic class, because those are your two, your main things. But for most business owners, their book is not their main thing, and frequently people come and ask whether they should register their book name as a trademark when they don’t even have the main business name registered as a trademark. So you need to think about what is your most important brand and get that registered first.
With book names people sometimes ask me about what if somebody else has the same or similar title? I have never actually come across any issues with book titles as people tend to steer clear of what’s already out there. So most authors will do a search on Amazon and look and see if somebody has got the same title. If you decide on a title, and someone else has got the same title, steer clear of it. Which is good practical advice because you don’t want people being confused about which book is yours. You don’t want them buying another book with a similar title, because you could lose sales that way. Which is why it’s a good idea to do a quick trademark search to see if other people have got the book title registered as a trademark.
It’s not a common thing, people don’t commonly register the book title as a trademark. But it’s worth bearing in mind because if you then produce your books and sell them under that brand, you could be in trouble. My name is Cathryn Warburton and I am the Legal Lioness.