Legal Question in Intellectual Property in California

does John Wiley & Sons the publisher of books for dummies prevent me from using the words for dummies in the title of a book i'm writing?

Asked on 10/14/13, 12:39 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Frank Natoli Natoli-Legal, LLC

Generally speaking, one cannot protect a trademark for the title of a single creative work, such as an song or book. But they can protect it for what we call "serial works" Batman, Harry Potter, etc.

There are probably a number of registrations for marks that use those terms, but you will need to conduct the proper due diligence or run the risk of infringement (see this link for a detailed explanation of this process:

If you would like to discuss further over a free phone consult, feel free to contact me anytime that is convenient.

Kind regards,



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DISCLAIMER: this is not intended to be specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. No attorney-client relationship is formed on the basis

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Answered on 10/14/13, 1:01 pm
David Sharifi L.A. Tech & Media Law Firm

As discussed above, context is very important here. Are you categorically prohibited from using the term FOR DUMMIES in a title of book? No. But a trademark search for the term, couple with analysis of the greater context of your book and its message and title are needed to correctly determine if you will be in any legal hot water for using this term.

If you'd like to further discuss visit my website or contact me at 310-751-0181.

David N. Sharifi, Esq.

Attorney | Consultant


8052 Melrose Avenue

Los Angeles, CA 90046

O: 310.751.0181 |

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Answered on 10/14/13, 1:12 pm
Rob Reed Law Office of Robert A. Reed

"For Dummies" is a federally registered trademark for a series of "non-fiction books, guides, manuals, and catalogs on a wide variety of topics."

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Answered on 10/14/13, 1:55 pm

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