Trademarks and Logos

Trademark law protects names, titles, short phrases, logos and other symbols that distinguish the source of one product (or service) from another to protect consumers from being misled.  Registering a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is not required, however doing so does allow for greater protections.  There are two symbols used to indicate the status of ownership: ™ and ®.  The ® symbol means the mark has been officially registered with the USPTO.  The ™ symbol means the owner considers the mark its Intellectual Property but has not secured a trademark registration, or may be in the process of doing so.  Please note, always use the symbol as it appears in the mark owner's branding.

When including the trademarks of a third party in your book, there are two factors to consider when deciding if permission from the owner is required.  When in doubt, request permission to use the trademark/logo, or remove it from your publication.

Factor 1: Determine Necessity

Before using a trademark or logo without permission, determine whether the use is necessary.  It is necessary if:

  • The object being discussed can only be identified by using the mark.  For example, if you are discussing a software product whose name has been trademarked, it is necessary to use the mark (the name) in order to identify the software.

  • The mark is used as part of an academic exercise or discussion (similar to assessing for transformation in fair use). 

  • The mark is embedded in the content you are using.  This usually happens either incidentally or when the mark is being used as a source identifier.

If you determine that the use is not necessary, permission must be obtained.

Factor 2: Implied Endorsement

Determine whether the use could be perceived as implying an endorsement by the trademark owner or some affiliation with the trademark owner or the related good or service. To do this, consider the following:

  • Look at the prominence of the mark within the context of our work as a whole.  If we are displaying the mark on the cover and/or referring to it heavily throughout the text, it is more likely to imply endorsement by the owner than if we only refer to the mark once on a single page within the book. 

  • Look at the prominence of the mark within the context of the material within which it appears.  For example, a logo appearing incidentally within a larger image is less likely to imply endorsement than a full-page image of the logo with no surrounding discussion.

  • Look at the connection between the trademark or trademark owner and the content.  Is our publication largely related to the good or service the trademark relates to?  If so, there is a greater likelihood of implied endorsement.  For example, if we are writing a book about a software product, and we include several screen shots throughout the text that essentially instruct the reader on how to use the software, the reader might have the mistaken impression that the software provider endorsed the book.

If you determine that there is a high risk of implied endorsement, permission must be obtained.

Instructions when using Trademarks and Logos

The following are best practices whenever a trademark or logo appears within your book:

1. Do not edit the mark.

2. Include the trademark symbol, as the owner branding indicates, in:

  • Any and all display of a trademark on the front or back cover of a book.
  • With the first or most prominent appearance of the trademark within the interior of the text.
    • Also include a footnote that states the owner of the trademark (for example, “TheraPlay is a registered trademark of TheraPlay Institute.”)

3. If there is a likelihood of implied endorsement, a disclaimer will also be included by our Production Team on the copyright page of the book.

4. Do not use a trademark as a noun, but rather as an adjective describing the good or service it relates to.  Example: “I made copies on the Xerox” should instead read "I made copies on the Xerox copier machine.” 


Please note that the information provided on this site is not intended to be legal advice.  You may wish to consult with your own legal counsel regarding your legal obligations.