The general rule is that book titles (unless part of a series) cannot be registered as trademarks. Trademarks are really meant to function as the identifiers (source) of goods and services, and book titles don’t really fulfill this function.

In the US, one cannot trademark a title of a single creative work. If you have a series of books, then this series can be trademarked.

It’s always best to read what the actual law says about it. You can check out this useful article in the USPTO website: “Title of a Single Work” Refusal and How to Overcome This Refusal

As the US Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure says:

“The title, or a portion of a title, of a single creative work must be refused registration under §§1, 2, and 45 of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. §§1051, 1052, and 1127, unless the title has been used on a series of creative works. The title of a single creative work is not registrable on either the Principal or Supplemental Register.”

To put it in plain English:

You cannot trademark the name of a single creative work. For example, if you write one book called “FOR DUMMIES” then you will not be able to trademark this title.

However, you can trademark a book title if you write a series of books using that title. In the example above, the name “FOR DUMMIES” could be trademarked if you wrote more than one book with that title, since it would no longer be considered a “single” creative work. So, you could have a series of books “FOR DUMMIES” and individual titles of these books may be “Auto repair”, ” Football”, “Personal Finance”, etc.

The same rule goes for the EU and UK.

In Canada, however, it’s different and you can trademark book titles even if it’s just one book.

 

 

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