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.

  • 1
    Why would you not be able to do that? Newspapers etc. use brand names all the time.
    – xLeitix
    Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 14:13
  • @xLeitix E.g., one reason why you might not be able to do that: Can I mention brand names and their products in my research/technical paper? Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 16:09
  • 1
    @FranckDernoncourt: a trade mark however is something very much different from a contract-type agreement (like an EULA) in which you sign not to name names. (At least in German law) the trade mark allows its owner to prevent the use of their trade mark for goods and services that could be confused with their own good/service for which the trade mark is registered. The owner cannot prevent the use of their trademark for the good/service for which it is actually registered (roughly, the trade mark owner cannot forbid their product to be named by its proper name [=trade mark]). Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 20:31

1 Answer 1


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.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .