I am an up-and-coming author; I have what I hope is not a complicated matter. I have a series of books planned, the first book should be published in a year or so. I understand that single book titles cannot be trademarked, but the title of a series of books can be. Before the first book is published I plan to have short stories, novellas and novelettes, in e-book and PDF formats, on my website for purchase for a dollar, or perhaps a 'pay what you want' model in place – all part of the same 'universe' and sharing the series title.
I am wondering, would the sale of short stories, novellas and novelettes on my website secure a trademark for the series title? Would having or not having an ISBN for these products affect this in any way? I currently don't plan to have ISBNs for these 'small' products, due to cost.
I ask this because I, probably as with any writer, love the series title and would like my books to have an original, unique and compelling name that is exclusive to them. I also plan to release a tabletop game that is based on the book series, and I think the title I have is a perfect fit. I heard about the 'intent to use' option, but honestly I am not able to afford such at this time. I will of course, as soon as financially able, file all the necessary paper work to register with the USTPO (patent office). I was just curious as to other ways to secure protection for the series title, as soon as possible – and hopefully cheaply.
Any and all advice is ineffably appreciated! Thank you for your time, so much. ~William
1 Answer from Attorneys
Cheap trademark registration is, well...cheap. That is likely to be worth about what you cheaply pay.
You want cheap, fast and high quality. ("I was just curious as to other ways to secure protection for the series title, as soon as possible – and hopefully cheaply.") You can select any two of those, but not three. Major companies generally choose the last two and thus don't get cheap. You, on the other hand are focusing on cheap, which likely means you will either have to give up either quality or speed or both. Sorry, but that just the facts of legal practice.
The overriding take away from your question is that you are so underfunded that you need to prioritize and my impression is you should be giving more priority to registration of trademarks and copyrights or you will ultimately fail in your attempts to build a business out of this.
You need an IP attorney's help. There is no equivalent "cheap" solution.
Related Questions & Answers
What does a All relief not previously granted is hereby DENIED. means Asked 3/21/14, 10:08 am in United States Texas Intellectual Property