Why You Should Never Trademark Your Fictional Characters When Publishing An Ebook Via Draft2Digital?

This article applies to independent authors who publish their ebooks and license them under a Creative Commons license, along with their fictional characters. However; We’re also going to cover people who reserve all rights to their ebooks. Although; trademarking your characters and your ebooks is common when people publish with large companies, or apply strict trademarks to their works. However; common companies who trademark their fictional characters are: The Walt Disney Company, PBS, Nintendo, and Universal. Registering trademarks for your work isn’t necessary because, if you ever leave legacy… and your work is abandoned after either time in prison, or death, your work will rot overtime.

What’s The Issue?

Within my experience of writing books, and publishing/updating my books; I license my work under a Creative Commons license to help reusers save money on licensing costs, and reduce risks of copyright issues. Although; I don’t trademark my work because, applying for trademarks is expensive, and that cause me to be as greedy as the Walt Disney Company. I came up with a different approach as I create something new. However; I’m still experimenting with other ways to publish books on Draft2Digital. However; I used these hacks to leave trademarks off my work, and choose NOT to trademark my work,–for good!

Everyday, some authors who publish books on Draft2Digital and reserve all rights for their works. Some authors trademark their titles and trademark their characters. Trademark applications has caused authors to spend more money on trademark applications, and even face serious budget issues when they create new projects. Some authors who don’t trademark their works and their characters has saved over thousands of dollars or more annually. Books that are trademarked by authors are rread by people everyday. However; some people begin to dislike trademarking their works because, trademark ownership is expensive, and uncomfortable. Trademarks do expire, but it takes more time for trademarks to be invalid, and enter public domain as a way for projects to reused by anyone.

If you thought trademarking your characters be any worse? Think again!! It takes hundreds of thousands of dollars to renew trademarks of your fictional characters. If you or your company goes bankrupt with a chapter 7 bankruptcy; and you removed all trademarks of your works; that can be a major fall of your publishing career.

Within our today’s era, many people who publish parodies are treated as ‘infringe machines’ in the United States and other regions.

Companies who already have enough money often waste money on creating remakes, and even legal battles. For this instance, you were a company who used up your money to trademark your characters. Unfortunately, there’s no ‘trademark tax’ implemented because, trademark registration is already paid for. To me, ‘trademark tax’ should work an important function for our government like keeping libraries open, and reduce climate change, etc.

Authors who intentionally trademark their fictional characters are often criticized because, they often silence parodies, and other non-commercial reuse. However; these authors has silenced these people who are practicing fair-use anyway!

As they won court battles; they grab funds. Most funds they add to their bank account. Most of these funds come from silenced critics.

Trademarking your characters has serious risks, but there’s no such risks on US patent and trademark offices online/offline.

To me, registering a trademark is for business names, branded products, and branded product types,; not fictional characters and books. If you were trademarking your fictional characters, you’re supporting other individuals who use this approach to keep reuse at bay, and causing intellectual pollution.

If an author leaves his/her work behind after death; it takes many years for his/her work to get trademarked materials expired when expiration arrives. However; these authors implemented trusts to prevent their works from falling into a public domain pit.

However; authors who published their books,–even before their death arrives has encouraged trustees to keep their series going with upcoming subauthors who wanted to keep his/her work expanding like a mountain.

Once trademarks to these fictional characters expire, trademarks are no longer invalid!

However; it’s your decision to trademark… or not to trademark your fictional characters

Always think twice before you trademark your fictional characters in your book. If you don’t like trademarking your characters, and you want to enable your fans to reuse them free of charge, Creative Commons licenses are available.

For People Who License Their Ebooks Under A Creative Commons License

Skip the trademark office, and don’t be like Disney! Instead; keep your characters free of being trademarked by you when publishing your ebook via Draft2Digital. Although; this is tough when you experience difficulties licensing your fictional characters under a Creative Commons license. However; you can still make your fictional characters available for reuse by doing these following steps:

  1. Create a website to list your fictional characters to reuse. If you already have a website, create a subdomain or subdirectory for your characters to be listed. If you use WordPress, Create pages for your characters.
  2. For each character, assign a page for each character. If you don’t have a website, sign up for a third party hosting account; or if you want a company to do all of managing WordPress for you, go to wpengine.com and create an account with this company.
  3. Go to creativecommons.org, and choose a desired license. Share-Alike is strongly recommended. Avoid using a non-commercial license because, this license isn’t suitable for people who reuse and monetize their works. If you want to use a non-commercial license; only use this license if these conditions are met:
    • You publish to Scribd
    • You’re comfortable with reserving commercial rights to your work
    • You have products that are related to your project like toys that are made by your hired manufacturer
  4. Publish your characters on your website. If you were already running a wiki… it’s not enough for anyone to reuse your fictional characters.
  5. Use any ad network to monetize your fictional characters library.

The Advantages And Disadvantages


Reuse Free Of Charge

When you license your fictional characters under a Creative Commons License; you grant fans a license to reuse your work, even commercially. For this instance, you created a character who is a tapir, and you have a book series about it. If your book is Creative Commons licensed, anyone can reuse your work.

If a person who writes a book; a person must find a character to reuse your character.

There can be up to thousands of fans reusing your fictional characters.

No need to pay for licensing, savings can vary from person to person.

Greater remix volume

Fans can remix your character in various ways. That applies to licenses that enable modifications of your fictional character.


This license what you’ve applied can’t be revoked, always be considerate before licensing.

If you reserve all of your rights to your work

If you have no intention to trademark your fictional characters, don’t do it! However; if you still wanted to trademark your fictional characters; follow these guidelines:

  • Don’t be such a “cry baby” when someone makes a parody of your fictional character. Whining over trademark violations can get you into serious trouble, and your trademarks can be forfeited when you were flagged as a trademark troll.
  • Always be considerate when trademarking your works.
  • Never register trademarks on public domain characters, books, movies, TV shows, music, plays, and other content in the public domain. Instead, create interesting an unique content.
  • If your trademarks expired, and you were planning to make your fictional characters obsolete in your series… plan it immediately.

When NOT To Trademark Your Fictional Characters

If you are not comfortable trademarking your fictional characters, and you want to save money… skip a trip to your local patent and trademark office.

Not just skipping a trip to a patent and trademark office saves you money, that also offset intellectual pollution caused by all of the hording of intellectual property horded by many authors. The less fictional characters trademarked… the better our creative world goes.


This article is not a legal advice, but it’s an opinion of a blogger who wrote this post. If you want to get legal advice; check with your law professional, or someone similar for legal advice.

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