Writing Books/legal help

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Question
i was writing a book and it had some names such as Wii and Dodge. is it legal to do that without asking first? could i get sued?

Answer
Hi, Chandler!

It all depends on your use of the name. If your characters simply use public products, eat at fast food restaurants and buy name brands, then no. The problem can come up when you (or your characters) make disparaging remarks ABOUT the products. Your character staying at a Hilton Hotel, for example, that says what a crappy hotel chain it is and how the employees stole his money in the room, etc., could easily get you into hot water with the chain. You'd be giving them a bad name and they could sue.

However, it's fine to simply have your character use products just like everyone else in the world, and have a fondness for Pepsi over Coke, for example.

Does that help?  Good luck!

Cathy

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Cathy Clamp

Expertise

I'm happy to answer questions about any aspect of writing novels, from the beginning kernel of an idea through completion. I can help with writing a query letter and synopsis to an agent or editor. I can explain publishing terminology and acronyms. I can also assist with questions about verifying the credentials of agents/publishers and how to proceed once you've been accepted for publication. I can teach the rules of formatting a manuscript, creating viable plots, characterization and flow in the following genres: romance, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, suspense, horror, women's fiction, mainstream and mystery.

Experience

I'm a USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance for Tor/Forge Books. Along with a co-author, I've published fifteen novels (combination of mass market and trade softcover) since 2003, and have contracts for four more books through 2011.

Organizations
Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Western Outdoor Writers, Horror Writers of America.

Publications
Tor/Forge Books, Western Reflections Publishing, BenBella Books, Running Press, Wild Child Publishing. Many others.

Education/Credentials
My educational background is limited to real life experience of publishing novels commercially for the past five years.

Awards and Honors
USA Today bestseller, Waldenbooks Mass Market Paperback Top 20 bestseller, Nielsen BookScan Top 20 bestseller, RT BOOKreviews Career Achievement Award winner, 2009, Book Buyers Best Award for Paranormal, Romantic Times Best Werewolf Novel, Write Touch Readers Award, EVVY Best Historical Chronicle Award, The Lories Best Paranormal. Many others.

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