In the popular game "Animal Crossing: New Horizons" the TM symbol is used for an in-universe product. It doesn't actually represent a real product of course, and just acts as flavor text. While the TM symbol isn't all that protected, it made me wonder if other symbols for Registered (R) or Copyright (C) are more strictly guarded from use in this capacity in fiction.

  • Is the name of the product in the fictional universe the same as something in the real universe? Is it possible that someone playing the game would confuse that in-universe product with the real-life product?
    – Brandin
    Apr 9, 2020 at 7:17
  • @Brandin - In this case, the item is called a "Dodo Code™", which I don't think is a product that exists. It represents a code used for connecting others through online play, so it's arguable(?) it could be confused for a real-world product to someone unfamiliar with game mechanics of this kind.
    – Anne Quinn
    Apr 9, 2020 at 7:22
  • 1
    @AnneQuinn the Dodo Code is a real world trademark - it has a real function.
    – Dale M
    Apr 9, 2020 at 9:04

1 Answer 1


No. Assuming the author is not trying to deceive anyone, all the uses you've described are protected by the First Amendment.

Even if the author were trying to deceive, those uses might still be protected.

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