1. jonathan.bluestein
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    jonathan.bluestein New Member

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    Advice on a trademark term

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by jonathan.bluestein, Jun 26, 2011.

    Hi everyone,

    I wish to conduct a little psychological research that relates to my book, which is a non-fiction work. With this research I'll be amateurly using a version of the MBTI test. It ain't gonna be the main part of the book - just one chapter out of many, intended to prove certain points I have written of previously.

    Now, I realize that MBTI is a registered trademark.

    I also realize that I couldn't really tell the readers which test I was using, since I'm gonna be using a test someone else has created, which is also licensed. This might lead to some loss of "scientific credibility" on my behalf (since I "don't expose my methods"), yet I'm willing to take this burden in order to gain the benefit of using the test as a tool in my research.

    What I was wondering about is this - could I even mention that I am using the MBTI research method in the book? Do you need to pay someone money in order to even use the name, or can you mention that you have used that method and the results of that use, as long as you don't mention using a specific test created by someone else?...

    Thanks for your help folks. Much appreciation in advance.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Search for threads containing the word trademark in the post body in the General Writing forum.
     
  3. jonathan.bluestein
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    jonathan.bluestein New Member

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    I have tried hard but couldn't find anything similar to the answers I'm looking for. Something remotely similar which I read was that you can use a song title freely, but I don't know if it applies to something like the "MBTI" term.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    go to the source: www.uspto.gov
     
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  5. jonathan.bluestein
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    jonathan.bluestein New Member

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    Thanks. Found it: http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4008:6cd8ct.2.1

    But still, like I've written before - I knew that the "MBTI" thing was supposed to be registered as a trademark. That's not my problem. The issue at hand is that I cannot understand if this being a trademark prevents me from using this as a research method I shall later expand upon in my book.
     
  6. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    The existence of the trademark does not prevent you from utilizing the underlying method.

    Whether you can refer to the trademark in your book, as a general rule mentioning a mark in your story won't be a problem. If you are going to somehow disparage the mark, then you're coming closer to risking action by the trademark owner (and if the mark is "famous" the trademark owner has more recourse here). Also, keep in mind that trademark owners have differing levels of aggressiveness. Even if you're in the right, defending a trademark suit is very expensive, so if the trademark owner is quite litigious, you may want to avoid mentioning it altogether and simply make up your own name for a fictional text that happens to use more or less the same underlying methodology.

    In general, though, you can mention trademarks in a work of fiction without crossing any legal lines.
     

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