I'm doing a study about soft drinks showing their effects on a certain group of people. I'm using brand names like Coca Cola, Pepsi, etc. and I wonder if I can use the names in the research paper and I if it can be published in journals.
If these names are trademarked in the US, it's my understanding that it is legal in the US to use these marks to refer to companies that they describe in any publication. Look at how financial sections of newspapers or websites daily refer to the companies that they report on and the products they sell. However, it's possible but unlikely that you could be sued anyway. If there's any confusion in your writing that Coca-cola or Pepsi in endorsing your article, watch out. You and your publisher may be in their sights. This is unlikely if you're simply doing a taste test or comparing marketing strategies, but you should be careful with the use of other's property without their explicit permission. Just like the Fair Use defense in the copyright context, a nominative use is a defense in court if you get sued, not a get-out-of-jail free card. These kinds of suits are so rare against academics that I can't name or find any.