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  • Titles
    by tatterdemalion at 17:02 on 03 April 2014
    I just ran a possible title through Google and it turned up a blog and a restaurant of the same name. The story concerns neither a blog nor a restaurant, but the title is distinctive so - apart from the disappointment of not getting there first - I just wondered if it matters. Thanks.
  • Re: Titles
    by Catkin at 23:38 on 03 April 2014
    There is no copyright in titles, but I don't know how it works with business names. If it is a problem, I can't imagine that a restaurant would come after you about it.
    Edited by Catkin at 23:45:00 on 03 April 2014
  • Re: Titles
    by EmmaD at 01:06 on 04 April 2014
    I think - but I'm not a lawyer - that the issue would be if either the restaurant or the blog had trademarked their name. Trademarks are a very different kind of intellectual property - and I guess the restaurant might have.

    Having said that, I think that trademark law is a bit limited, in that if you're not in the least trying to pass off your product as related to them, there's not a lot they can do. And clearly, you're not.

    Frankly, though, I wouldn't worry too much. And/or The Society of Authors might be able to help,
  • Re: Titles
    by tatterdemalion at 15:19 on 04 April 2014
    Thanks, people. I wonder what, for instance, TW's estate would do if someone opened a restaurant called The Glass Menagerie? 
  • Re: Titles
    by EmmaD at 15:29 on 04 April 2014
    I don't think they could do anything - no copyright in a title.
  • Re: Titles
    by tatterdemalion at 17:33 on 04 April 2014
    No, we've established that. I was thinking more abstractly, I suppose. Would not could.
  • Re: Titles
    by EmmaD at 22:06 on 04 April 2014
    Yes, it's an interesting thought.

    They could fume, I suppose. ;)

    Actually, I don't suppose they'd care, or perhaps even know. The worry would be if someone put on a play called The Glass Menagerie. Though you'd be silly if you did, I guess.

    Talking of Tennessee Williams, the TLS's chatty, commenty column on the back page has a spoof "Kate Adie Prize" for using titles which have been used before, pinpointing book titles that more than one writer has used: KA's autobiog was called The Comfort of Strangers, which is a) a line from Streetcar, and b) been used a zillion times before. And when my editor and I were trying to work out what the title for my second novel with them should be - she didn't like its working title An Uncertain Alchemy (a bit indefinite, and hard to say without your teeth in) - the fact that Alchemy was the title of a short story collection by Maureen Duffy which had only come out something like 5 years before didn't bother her at all. In the end we called it A Secret Alchemy.
    Edited by EmmaD at 22:07:00 on 04 April 2014
  • Re: Titles
    by NMott at 22:57 on 04 April 2014
    It shouldn't be a problem unless you intended to open a restaurant or have a blog of the same name. The blog name is unlikely to be trademarked but if you publish your book you don't want readers googling it and being directed to the blog. 
  • Re: Titles
    by EmmaD at 14:06 on 05 April 2014
    Naomi, that's made me have an interesting thought - if you want to use a title that is a phrase that's already out and about, it's worth checking whether you can have the domain name. There's a lot to be said for having a dedicated mini-sight for each book (not that I have, but lots do, especially children's authors) . It would be annoying to find that some restaurant or other blogger was out there already, and had beaten you to www.myfabulousbooktitle.com
  • Re: Titles
    by alexhazel at 21:28 on 30 January 2015
    I can answer the point about trademarks, at least in part, as I have one for my freelancing company. You can trademark a name, providing it isn't a commonplace phrase, but when you do so, you usually specify the business category under which it is trademarked. Trademarking in several categories costs extra money. I suppose some people might consider it worth investing the extra in order to protect their trademark in many different categories, but I can't imagine most people would.

    It's a valid point to consider avoiding titles which might cause confusion. Mind you, such considerations haven't stopped universities popping up with very similar names to others. People at the University of Birmingham, for example, occasionally get people turning up there who are actually looking for Birmingham City University.

    Edited by alexhazel at 21:31:00 on 30 January 2015