I want/need to use the word 'Android' referring to the Android-System/Software in a paper/thesis. I found these guidelines. Do I have to use both, the TM-symbol AND a footnote? Like AndroidTM - It looks strange...

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    You are not required, legally, to use the TM symbol. There is no need to conform to these guidelines. Many people argue that you shouldn't use these symbols in academic publications: see for instance the answers to this question. Sep 9, 2017 at 12:07
  • @FedericoPoloni "You are not required, legally, to use the TM symbol." [citation needed] - In fact, the accepted answer to the question you mentioned says that you formally have to use the TM symbol, but in common usage, you rather follow the guidelines of where the paper/thesis is submitted. Sep 9, 2017 at 12:10
  • So neither a footnote, nor the TM symbol nor a citation... even if a non-commercial tool is published with the thesis? If I write sth like 'A tool for Android'?
    – Jan
    Sep 9, 2017 at 12:19
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    @lighthousekeeper It's tricky to provide a citation for "there is no obligation to do X" -- should I quote the entire laws to prove that there is nothing about X? In any case, here is a citation from an interview to an IP lawyer, speaking about the US law: forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2014/03/12/… Sep 9, 2017 at 12:28
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    @lighthousekeeper (Also, note that the accepted answer to that question is by far not the most upvoted one.) Sep 9, 2017 at 14:09

2 Answers 2


Your thesis or paper is in this respect similar to a newspaper article about the product ("Independent coverage"). Do newspapers use the "TM" symbol if they write about products? No. (At least no newspapers or magazine I know does.)

It is used by people who have an agreement, are cooperating with the proprietor of the brand name in question, to show exactly that.

These "guidelines" (same as e.g. Microsofts EULAs etc.) are not even a binding contract in many legislations, because they try to force them on you after you have already paid for the product.

  • While I think what you say is true, I would be wary of explicitly following the example of newspapers (they are not known for their academic rigour, after all).
    – astronat
    Sep 9, 2017 at 19:21
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    @astronat They're not, but this is not an academic, but a legal question, isn't it?
    – Karl
    Sep 9, 2017 at 19:25
  • it will not even be publicized.. but i want to be sure doing it right.. i don't think that anyone will care at all.. thank you
    – Jan
    Sep 10, 2017 at 8:13

I would advise you to be as conservative as possible and err on the side of adhering to the wishes of the trademark's owner. It won't do you any harm, whereas breaking a rule/convention might wind up giving you grief.

The rights of owners should be respected, especially when the cost is essentially zero. You will want them to respect your IP in future as well.

It is easy to Do the Right Thing when it costs you nothing.

I would guess, however, that mentioning the trademark and its owner once in the paper is sufficient.

And note that you do this, not because of a legal threat but because you respect the people that built the system. This is especially true if their prior work has enabled your own.

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    -1 Spinelessness has a tendency to spread ... why would I bow to someone who walks around town with a crown on his head? Because it doesn't cost me much? Because he threatens me? 2x NO.
    – Karl
    Jul 5, 2018 at 6:52
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    @Karl, sorry, your comparison is extremely weak. Not because he threatens me, but because I respect him. Even more because his work has enabled mine.
    – Buffy
    Jul 5, 2018 at 12:59
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    These "guideline" imply an legal threat which is completely unfounded unless you are using the name "Android" to advertise a product. Technically, that's imo attempted coercion.
    – Karl
    Jul 5, 2018 at 17:04

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