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I am making a commercial software product and I want to publish it soon. In my product title can I have words like Photoshop, Visual Studio, Delphi, etc?

For example, a full name would be something like: "My product for Photoshop ver 123" or "My Product for Delphi 123".

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6  
Don't ask random people on the internet. Ask a lawyer. –  ChrisF Jul 26 '11 at 13:42
3  
Check the terms of service/EULA for the product whose name you want to use. Many will explicitly say what kind of usage they allow for their names. –  Anna Lear Jul 26 '11 at 13:52
    
(Meta comment: I tried updating the title to reflect the question, but it still feels awkward. If anybody has a better idea, edit away!) –  Anna Lear Jul 26 '11 at 13:54
    
@Anna Lear♦: Title change is better but it's not 100% clear that the product OP is developing is a plugin. I mean, it looks like it from the context, but it's not explicitly stated anywhere, OP says "commercial software product" which could be a stand-alone app that does things to Photoshop files or VS projects, but not as a plugin. –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Jul 26 '11 at 13:58
    
@Frustrated Yeah, I agree. I was inferring heavily. Ideally Rawn will edit the title further. :) –  Anna Lear Jul 26 '11 at 14:15

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Probably. Ultimately you should ask a lawyer, but I think you will not have problems with names like "Spazztastic Photoshop Plugin" or "Joe's Ultimate Delphi Image Processing Library". These names incorporate the name of another product, but the name is pretty clear that your product is different, and is an add-on product that is meant to be used in conjunction with the other product.

I think you'd only run into trouble if the product name might lead people to confuse your product with another product, such as "Mike's Photoshop", or "Super-Awesome Photoshop". These names could be seen as trying to make your product pose as the other and potentially steal uninformed customers.

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The lawyers like to use the word "fraud" around the use of trademarks. The "bad" examples sound like they intend to deceive. –  S.Lott Jul 26 '11 at 13:46

Even if it's technically not entirely illegal, you almost certainly don't have the resources and time to fight the legal battle with the trademark/copyright owner.

Also, ask a lawyer.

And then ask another lawyer for a second opinion.

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If you name your product like this: Amazing Product for Visual Studio® .NET

This is fair use. It's perfectly legal in most countries.

The basic rule is that you can't use the name to do business, or even worse, a competing business. In your case, there is no problem to use the trademarked names in your documentation, product description and name qualified (like above).

Please note that sometimes, the company can sure you because your plugin work around some technical limitations in the software.

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