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Information: Protection of Titles


Because titles (whether of books, films, journals, periodicals, etc.) are normally composed of a small number of words of the language, which is available to everyone, they cannot claim copyright protection.

Trade Marks

It may be possible to obtain trade mark protection, if the title is sufficiently distinctive for it to qualify under the Trade Marks Act 1994 and the associated Trade Marks Rules. This involves a registration procedure and payment of fees. Full information may be obtained from the Intellectual Property Office, Concept House, Cardiff Road, Newport, South Wales, NP10 8QQ. Telephone: 0300 300 2000. Fax: 01633 817777. E-mail: [email protected] or visit their website at

Passing Off

This is a form of protection which is intended to protect any reputation that has been established by an individual or a company in relation to their activity or trading. Among other things, it is aimed against misleading or deceiving the trade or consumer by offering products that are very similar in name, appearance, description or packaging to those of an established trader. It may be used in relation to a title, once this is sufficiently well established to be associated with a particular author or publisher against another author or publisher who brings out a work using substantially the same title in such circumstances that consumers are likely to be confused as to the origin of the work. Specialist legal advice is essential.


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