Saturday, September 18, 2010

SELECTED SHORTS: THE FEDERAL TRADEMARK

Little did I know that the title of my book would create a concern to another company.  In this case, SymphonySpace wrote me a letter letting me know that they own an incontestable United States federal trademark registration for the mark "SELECTED SHORTS" in connection with 'entertainment services - namely, the production and performance of live and recorded readings of literary works.'


While I could bore you with the legal requirement lingo they sent me, it appears they own the rights of the term "SELECTED SHORTS" and sent the letter telling me that while they noticed the entire title of my book to be "Selected Shorts and Other Methods of Time Travel," I should not use the short phrase "SELECTED SHORTS" in connection with the production or performance of live or recorded readings of my book because...it would confuse consumers.

While I doubt that consumers will be confused, seeing how countless book titles and movie compilations (let's not forget every single film screening ever conducted) uses these same two words, this is a legitimate issue and concern.  I have nothing to worry about since I have no plans for making a live performance of my book and therefore, have no legal border to cross.  On the other hand, I will never refer to my book as "SELECTED SHORTS" solely, as it confuses consumers because it means millions of things.

As I mentioned earlier, when you create the name of both your book and publishing company, do your research.  Not only do you want a unique title, you don't want to cross the line of a company that has a serious problem with you and a means to shut you down.  Luckily for me, this was both a friendly letter and one of which was meant to do no harm, just a means to let me know of their registered trademark and not to get too close to their product line.  Who knows, maybe one of my stories will wind up on one of their CDs.

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