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I'm writing a short story about a girl whose boyfriend is doing in internship in another city. She goes to visit him every week. But the guy always call at the last minute, saying he can't come and gives her some lame excuse. So every time, the girl ends up sitting alone in the city's train station, at Sushi Express, eating sushi and meeting some strange characters.

I want to call the story Sushi Express which is a real sushi shop.

Is it legally OK to use it as the title of my short story? If not, what trick can I use to sort this out?

(I thought of other names but they sound terrible: Sushi Expressway, High-speed Sushi, Speedy Sushi, etc.)

I'm not planning to publish the story yet. But I hope I won't have any problems in the future (based on the legal system of all over the world, since I'm more likely to publish it on Amazon.)

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This is a legal question, and the answer will probably depend on the legal system in which you reside/publish, so it's unanswerable until you tell us what legal system you're asking about. And since Stack Exchange is not designed to provide legal advice, I suggest that only answers citing a reliable outside source should be taken seriously. – BESW Nov 17 '13 at 13:06
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Well, there is one simple and universal answer: Ask Sushi Express for written permission. If the story puts their shop in a good light, they should be glad to provide it (free publicity/product placement) and you'll be in the clear legally.

Otherwise, BESW's comment is right; that depends on your local legal system. Answers will vary depending on where you and Sushi Express are.

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In the united states what you are as is probably fair use (fair dealing in other jurisdictions) but few companies understand fair use, so you will probably be sued and even if you win which might be problematic, I have seen district court judges ignore fair use, might be very expensive, so be careful. I would personally recommend a longer title such as Thursday at sushi express, and licencing or endorsement. (ask sushi express if they would like you to promote their second best selling dish and collect a little money. which would be an implicit licence.)

I have never heard anything specific about this restaurant's legal practices or their lawyers, so my advice is based on typical corporations.

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(disclaimer: I am not a lawyer)

“Sushi Express” is presumably a trademark, so if you use it as the title of the story, then you are trying to profit off their corporate reputation. Even if the story portrays the store in a favorable light, some insufficiently busy lawyer in Sushi Express’s corporate headquarters might decide that if anyone is going to make money off short stories using their trademark, then by God, they should get a piece of the action.

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