1. southernsontn
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    southernsontn New Member

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    question about copyrighted/trademarked terms.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by southernsontn, Sep 14, 2012.

    I have used the search function, but either this question hasn't been asked before, or I just can't find it.

    The book I'm currently writing is a science fiction piece that takes place in a somewhat dystopian/orweillian future, wherein a United Nations type supranational governmental entity has global authority. I have actually mulled over the idea of calling this organization the "United Nations", but I can't find out whether or not there would be any trademark issues to worry about. A close second choice would be "United Earth", but I have seen that name used as backstory to several different franchises.

    Is there anyway to determine whether either of these names are actually trademarked, or whether they are open game. I understand that this may not seem like it should be as important as I am making it seem, but the interaction between this entity and those around it are actually fairly crucial to the plot line that I have developed.

    As always thanks for the help.
     
  2. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    It appears that the United Nations objected to "United Nations" being used in Doctor Who.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_in_popular_culture

    That page also mentions:

     
  3. southernsontn
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    southernsontn New Member

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    That's actually why I posed the question. In some franchises, there doesn't seem to be a problem using the UN name, while in others there is. I'm actually thinking of using "United Earth" as a substitute, but again, I can't seem to find any sort of information regarding trademarks regarding either term, although I know both have been used in some franchises.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i'd advise not using UN, for the reasons given above... and trademark violation applies to businesses or products, when the user is in competition with the trademark owner, such as calling your coffee shop 'starbucks'... which does not include simply using the name in a novel, unless you call a character 'batman' or 'ronald mcdonald'...

    if 'united earth' is a registered trademark, you'd be wise to use a different term for your global gov't... like 'united planet' or 'one world' or whatever...

    but the bottom line in all such issues is, 'when in doubt, consult a literary attorney!'...
     
  5. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    When in doubt I like to use historical precedents. The UN came into existence after WWII. But prior to that and following on from WWI there was an organization known as the League of Nations. Since that no longer exists and WWII ended 67 years ago I can't see anyone really kicking up a fuss if you used it. You could even jazz it up a bit and call it the International League or some such.

    I think the UN objects to its name being used in ways that either defame it or make it out to be something it's not.

    Cheers, Greg.
     

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