If I make a trivia card game or video game for sale and one the questions is "Which grocery store was founded in 1930 by George W. Jenkins?" and the the answer is presented as "Publix". Is this a trademark infringement?

Can I use that name as part of my game? Do I need to use a little 'R', 'TM' or 'C' with the name?

1 Answer 1


A name is not protected by copyright. It can be protected as a trademark, but it would almost certainly be allowed as nominative fair use, since the alternative of indirect descriptive reference ("the grocery store founded in 1930 by George W. Jenkins") is not only cumbersome, but it doesn't even answer the question, where only the name can be used. Trademark protection is not absolute ownership of a word, it is the right to a specific use of a word (e.g. to identify a specific brand of computer for commercial purposes). If you use a trademark symbol, you have to be careful to use the right one (it may be illegal to imply registration by using R when the trademark is not registered). As far as I can determine, there is no obligation for a third party to so mark trademark terms, though it is commonly done.

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