Writing Books/trademark


Hi Rhonda

I have a friend who has wriiten a book about a longtime friend of his who is now deceased. He has been threatened that he cannot use that presons name because the name is trademarked.
What do you think are the legal implications.

Hi Tim,

Names are not generally trademarked.  However, in some cases they are.  I highly recommend that your friend contact an attorney.  Even if the person's name is not trademarked, using a person's (physically alive or deceased) name or identity ventures into legal areas.  There could be estate issues to contend with, etc.  I recommend that your friend contact an attorney and explain the situation fully.  

My personal guidance would be not to write a book about the person unless the person's family/estate and legal representatives approved of it in writing.  But again, I'd check with an attorney.

All the best!


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Rhonda Campbell


I can answer questions on how to get published in magazines and newspapers; how to market your own books; how to earn a living writing; how to write press releases; how to find a good editor; how to edit your own books; finding a good printer; finding a good book illustrator; doing your taxes as a freelance writer. Questions I can't answer include specifics around working with a print on demand publisher


I have 36 years of experience as a writer (fiction and non-fiction). I am a book reviewer with Nielsen Media. I am a newspaper columnist and a reporter. I am a former radio station host and I am the editor of a literary newsletter, The Book Lover's Haven. I am also the author of more than 10 books.

Writer's Critique Group

The Trenton Times Philadelphia Trend Sisters in Style Essence Magazine The Pittsburgh Quarterly Obsidian II, etc.

I have taken numerous writing courses on book, proposal and grant writing as well as marketing and promotion

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100 Most Admired African American Women Who's Who

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