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Must I indicate a company's tm or registered mark when blogging?

Must I indicate a company's tm or registered mark when blogging and using the Company's name within the text or headline? I am in the Oil and Gas sector for blogging, and do not want to step on any toes, but a VERY large international company bought another fairly large company and it is blog worthy material, just do not want to have DEEP pockets come after me for using their name. I am not going to bad mouth or anything negative, just stating facts as well as personal thoughts.

~ Texas

If you are in the business of blogging (publishing), then you always risk being sued for a variety of reasons. Be prudent. Carry insurance. Know enough about the law that relates to journalism. Also, learn journalistic etiquette.

Very generally, trademarks protect against customer confusion that occurs when customers purchase stuff. Since you are not selling oil and gas, it seems unlikely that you will confuse customers. Moreover, when you use a trademark to refer to a company, that is typically included within the doctrine of fair use and the doctrine of nominative use. In other words, rather than confusing consumers, you are using the trademark properly, that is, to refer to the company that is source of the goods and services.

However, there are other doctrines of trademark law, and, not all courts recognize the doctrine of nominative use. For example, you are not allowed to dilute a famous mark. In order to understand whether you run a risk of dilution, you would need to speak with an attorney.

Many publisher do indicate company trademarks. One reason is because the company will request this in their media kits or make it a condition of comment or interview. When the press recognizes a company's trademark, the company derives a benefit because their trademark is being used with the public in a way that identifies them.

If you want to be a serious blogger, you may wish to learn a bit more about journalism. (Something I know little about.) Assuming that you do not want to go back to college, you could check out some of the free, online course offerings from major universities. For example, here is a set of MIT course (yes, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) on comparative media studies. Of course, there is no college credit, but, it is the same lectures and course material that you would have if you were working on an MIT degree.

Good luck with your blog.

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