[[quoteright:350:[[ComicBook/WhatIf http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Writing_Around_Trademarks_3606.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:ComicBook/WhatIf [[Creator/MarvelComics Marvel]] didn't use a cheesy pun?]]

You have a great idea for a character name! But there's a problem--someone else had the idea first. And they used it... a long, long time ago. Like, before you were born. The character may not even be that well-known (or known at all) ''today''. Too bad -- you missed your chance. Better change the name before airtime, or you'll find yourself knee deep in the paperwork of a trademark infringement lawsuit.

If word gets out online, the original name may still be used by the [[FanNickname fans]]. Efforts to have this listed as a violation of intellectual property are no doubt pending. ''However'', certain uses are ([[WeAllLiveInAmerica at least in the United States]]) covered under what are known as [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use Fair Use Laws]].

The same reasoning behind many a StealthPun.

Contrast CaptainErsatz, where the writers ''are'' trying to use an already existing character but can't. See also BlandNameProduct, YouWannaGetSued, LawyerFriendlyCameo, AKA47, ProductDisplacement, and ClumsyCopyrightCensorship.
----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Whereas he's always Jeep in the manga, the anime version of [[Manga/{{Saiyuki}} Cho Hakkai's]] cute little dragon/car was creatively renamed Hakuryu ("white dragon") for the anime versions.
* ''Anime/LupinIII'' was renamed to Edgar when it aired in France because of complaints from the estate of Creator/MauriceLeblanc, the author of the original ''Literature/ArseneLupin'' stories. The trademark problems are also notoriously the reason for why the show never came to the US for so long. The first few ''Lupin'' films that did leak out of Japan substituted names like "[[SpellMyNameWithAnS Rupan]]" and "Wolf" to get around it.
** And as the story goes, Maurice Leblanc and Arsene Lupin ironically invoke this themselves, as Creator/ArthurConanDoyle thought Lupin's nemesis, an {{Expy}} of Sherlock Holmes, was a little too close to this trope than that one. And that was after Leblanc actually put Holmes in a couple of stories, prompting Conan-Doyle himself tell Leblanc to knock ''that'' off.
* The American dub of ''Rockman.exe'' (''Anime/MegaManNTWarrior'' in the west) changed the net-navi Aqua Man's name to Spout Man. Unarguably to avoid invoking [[Comicbook/{{Aquaman}} the other guy's name]]. While Aqua Man kept his name in both ''VideoGame/MegaMan8'' and the ''Battle Network'' games, it seemed best to avoid using the name on TV.
** The name change also applied into the sixth (and last) Battle Network game.
* Really weird example in ''Manga/{{Bakuman}}'': The manga is about two manga artists working for the (real-life) magazine ''Weekly Shōnen Jump'', from the company Shūeisha, and it's published in that actual magazine. However, the anime changes the name of the magazine to ''Weekly Shōnen Jack'' from Yūeisha, even when they show real-life editors of the magazine that keep their name in the anime. You'd expect Shūeisha to grant them rights to use the trademarks when negotiating the anime adaptation, right?
* PlayedForLaughs in an episode of ''LuckyStar''. Kagami is trying to find a ''Anime/CodeGeass'' comic for Konota, but all utterances of the title or the name "Lelouch" are partially bleeped out, while the cover of the comic itself is blurred. Even so, the audience can still make out what she's asking for.
* It's [[Creator/ConanObrien the]] [[Franchise/ConanTheBarbarian reason]] ''Manga/DetectiveConan'' was changed to ''Case Closed'' in America.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Card Games]]
* The ''LegendOfTheFiveRings'' card game suffered from this big time when the International Olympic Committee decided to enforce its ownership of five linked rings. The cards have a different back now, and you have to use sleeves if you want to use old and new cards...
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* The reason why Creator/MarvelComics made sure to publish a comic with a character named [[ComicBook/CaptainMarVell Captain Marvel]] every few years was so that the trademark didn't lapse and Creator/DCComics couldn't swoop in and use it with ''[[ComicBook/{{Shazam}} their]]'' [[{{Shazam}} Captain Marvel]] (purchased from Creator/FawcettComics) -- the ''original'' Captain Marvel. Although recently DC renamed the character [[IAmNotShazam "Shazam since that's what a lot of people thought he was called anyway]]".
** This has applied to several other Marvel characters: SpiderWoman, Warlock and Penance for example.
* Creator/JohnByrne intended to have a character named Dreadface appear in the ''ComicBook/NextMen'' comic as an exaggeration of the type of names Marvel gave characters. A few months before the character was due to make his first appearance, an issue of ''Comicbook/FantasticFour'' came out [[RedundantParody featuring a character called Dreadface]]. The ''Next Men'' character was hurriedly renamed.
* A Franchise/{{Batman}}/[[ThePunisher Punisher]] crossover introduced a villain who later turned up in ''{{Nightwing}}''. The writers dealt with the "where I met this guy before" story by having Nightwing have a rare memory lapse about 'the other guy' ("Out-of-town psycho vigilante. Want to say 'the Puncturer'?")
** Even if WordOfGod claims that a comic crossover is "In Continuity," the characters involved will never speak of it again for legal reasons.
*** They did get away with it concerning that very same crossover, though with the other guy in the Batsuit - Jean-Paul Valley, in his dementia, actually names Jigsaw (a major Punisher villain) as one of those who put away. It's still in the KnightsEnd trade paperbacks!
* One of the characters in ''ComicBook/RisingStars'' originally had the superhero name "Flagg" until somebody noticed the previous use of that name in Creator/HowardChaykin's ''American Flagg''. Creator/JMichaelStraczynski settled the matter amicably with Chaykin, and [[LampshadeHanging wrote the name change into the comic]], having the character renamed "Patriot" by his corporate sponsors because [[ShoutOut "some guy named Chaykin had the rights to 'Flagg'"]].
* The MarvelComics character Shang-Chi was created as the son of literary villain FuManchu back when Marvel had licensed the rights to the character. This led to an awkward situation where Marvel has 100 percent ownership of Shang-Chi, but is legally barred from ever referring to his father by his real name. For instance, there is humorous moment in ''BlackPanther'' where [=T'Challa=] tries to refer to him as "The Infamous Fu Manchu," only to be interrupted as soon as he reached the "F" in his name. Writers have since gotten around this by referring to him by various pseudonyms, and EdBrubaker eventually went so far as to have him disfigured beyond recognition in an issue of ''SecretAvengers''.
* A ''ComicBook/{{Spawn}}'' villain named "Overkill" was renamed "Overtkill" for this reason.
* MilestoneComics' villain "Holocaust" from ''ComicBook/BloodSyndicate'' was forced to have his name changed because of the ComicBook/{{X-Men}} villain of the same name. The change occured at the end of a miniseries featuring the character, ''My Name is Holocaust''; the last scene had the character agreeing to have his name changed for the sake of publicity, and the last line was "Your name is ''Pyre''."
* In the ''{{Youngblood}}'' team's first appearance, Badrock's codename was "Bedrock". The name was changed to avoid confusion with [[TheFlintstones a certain stone age town]].
* Oreo is very protective of their trademark cookies, hence MartianManhunter's snack of choice being retconned into "Choccos."
* ''HackSlash'' had Dr. Herbert West of ''{{Reanimator}}'' as a significant character for a three-issue arc. "Herbert West, Re-Animator!", the man and the name, were proudly emblazoned on the cover of one issue; He was nowhere to be found him anywhere on the cover of the next issue, and only vaguely alluded to as "that guy who likes to re-animate stuff." West remained a significant character, and was referred to by name within the comic's pages.
* An interesting example is the comic book ''Steed & Mrs Peel'', based on the TV series ''Series/TheAvengers''. While the TV series creators came up with the title ''first'', they [[Comicbook/TheAvengers can't use it for a comic]].
* ''ComicBook/ProjectSuperpowers'' makes ample use of Golden Age superheroes who have long since lapsed into the public domain. However, though the characters themselves are public domain, in several cases their ''names'' are owned by DC or Marvel. This necessitates referring to Daredevil as "'Devil", Yellowjacket as "Jack", the BlueBeetle as "Big Blue", and so forth.
* When Marvel brought the [[GoldenAgeOfComicbooks Golden Age]] hero Amazing-Man into their continuity, they were forced to change his moniker to the Prince of Orphans thanks to DC now having a [[JusticeSocietyOfAmerica JSA]] character with the name Amazing-Man ([[LegacyCharacter several of them, in fact]]). They can still use his civilian name of Johan Aman, though.
* The [[MarvelNOW Marvel NOW!]] relaunch introduced a new hero named Smasher, who has the civilian identity of Izzy Dare. It was initially heavily implied that she was the granddaughter of British comic book hero ComicStrip/DanDare, but subsequent reprints and collections of her debut issue [[OrwellianRetcon retroactively declared Izzy's last name to be "Kane"]] instead, revealing her that granddad was actually the [[GoldenAgeOfComicBooks Golden Age]] hero Captain Terror.
* The old ''Series/DoctorWho'' comics printed in ''TV Comic'', from the tenures of the First and Second Doctors, were only allowed to use the name of the show, the TARDIS and a likeness of Creator/WilliamHartnell or Creator/PatrickTroughton, and thus [[IAmNotShazam named him "Dr. Who"]] and gave him a pair of grandchildren, John and Gillian, who were ''sort'' of CaptainErsatz versions of the actual companion, Susan, but were really just [[RidiculouslyAverageGuy Ridiculously Average Grandchildren]] with none of Susan's alien-ness. This was given the {{Deconstruction}} treatment in some of the Eighth Doctor comics, in which the Doctor, under the influence of a NegativeSpaceWedgie, dreams about travelling the universe with John and Gillian in a LighterAndSofter universe with BlackAndWhiteMorality where no-one ever dies. This was also parodied in a Ninth Doctor comic in which "Dr Who" and "Rosie Taylor" ([[FashionDissonance dressed in a beehive hairdo and go-go boots even though she's from 2005]]) go on a {{Retraux}} adventure.
* For a few years in the mid-2000's, DC comics did not have the rights to the name {{Superboy}}, as they were in legal contention at the time. This was a major problem, since Superboy was an active and popular DC character. DC responded to this by killing the character off...but shortly before this, they had introduced a new, evil version known as Superboy Prime. They dealt with him by having the character begin referring to himself as SuperMAN Prime. This made sense, as he hated being treated like a kid. What made less sense was that he also was physically aged up to look like the grown up Superman, with no real explanation.
** A few years later, the dispute was settled, and the good Superboy was brought back to life and given his own comic series again.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* The producers of the Creator/ArnoldSchwarzenegger film ''Film/{{Eraser}}'' had to spend several thousand dollars to rename (by changing every instance in the negatives, as well as re-dubbing dialog) the corporation which the BigBad led that had committed contractor fraud from Cyrex to Cyrez, as it turned out there was a real corporation, microprocessor manufacturer Cyrix, with an incredibly similar name to what they originally used.
* In the film ''Film/{{Idiocracy}}'', all water, drinks, milk and liquids in the world, with the one exception of Toilet Water, has been replaced by a fictional green sports drink, [[TestosteronePoisoning Brawndo,]] [[{{MANLINESS}} the Thirst Mutilator!]]. They use it to water plants, feed babies, you name it. Although the brand [[{{Defictionalization}} was]] fictional, it is mentioned that it "tastes like Gatorade". [[WordOfGod According to Mike Judge]], they had originally planned to use Gatorade, but Gatorade didn't want to be associated with the film, especially since they would play such a major role in the plot. And thus the fictional Brawndo was born.
* In the original script drafts for the first ''Film/BackToTheFuture'', the time machine (then conceptualized as a refrigerator) was powered by Coca-Cola, not the Flux Capacitor. This plays on the secrecy of the Coke formula.
* Sparks of controversy often flare up on the Internet regarding the title controversy of Creator/JamesCameron's ''Film/{{Avatar}}'' and the live-action adaptation of the TV series ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'', with the latter film simply being titled ''Film/TheLastAirbender''. [[CommonKnowledge Despite popular belief]], legal action was not involved in the title change--Cameron has no more right to the word "Avatar" than {{Nickelodeon}}--but both parties agreed that their films could be hurt by the name confusion and Nickelodeon, having an alternative title to fall back on, decided to change their film's name.
* When trying to provide a cliche name for the chain diner in ''GhostWorld'' Terry Zwigoff and Daniel Clowes had to go through a couple dozen possibilities before they found one not currently in use by a real restaurant.
* An early scene from ''WesternAnimation/MonstersInc'' featured Sully and Mike running into obvious Godzilla knock-off Ted on their way to work. According to the director's DVDCommentary, the original plan was to give a full ShoutOut complete with roar, but since they couldn't get the okay to do so, they went the other way and played the RuleOfFunny. You ''see'' a large reptilian leg but ''hear'' a giant chicken.
* In ''Film/TheHobbit'' Gandalf mentions two Blue Wizards, but adds that he forgot their names. This is a clever cop-out of a potential lawsuit, as their names ''were'' mentioned by Creator/JRRTolkien, in the books which Warner Brothers has no legal right to use.
** The entire Necromancer subplot is a more complicated example. Warner Brothers can use anything mentioned in ''The Hobbit'' or ''The Lord of the Rings'', including appendices, and the basic outline of the whys and whats of Gandalf's doings around ''The Hobbit'' can be drawn from that -- but the more detailed account is in ''The Quest of Erebor'' (written as, essentially, Gandalf's perspective on ''The Hobbit''), which (just as the material that mentions the Blue Wizards' names) Warner Brothers doesn't have the legal right to use. The end result is that the Necromancer subplot is in broad strokes the same as in ''The Quest of Erebor'', but ''has'' to be different in the details because if it wasn't they'd be adapting something they don't have the right to.
* In a reverse of the comics example, ''Film/TheAvengers'' was [[MarketBasedTitle renamed]] to the rather clunky ''Marvel Avengers Assemble'' in the UK to avoid confusion with [[Series/TheAvengers the home-grown TV show]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Michael [=McGarrity=]'s ''Hermit's Peak'' had a fake company with a name that had been researched as unused... then it turned out to be used. A second printing changed the name.
* The Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse has a weird meta-example. The ''ComicBook/TalesOfTheJedi'' comic series featured a story arc ''The Tale of Nomi Sunrider'' and the eponymous character went off to become pretty important (as in "Head of the Jedi Order in the current era"-important), as did her relatives. However, a real-life company came up with a claim for "Sunrider" and Lucasfilm reacted enough for some legal issues to arise. For the following years Sunrider family was pretty much forgotten and most notably suspiciously absent from the ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'' video game, which references about everything else from the ''TOTJ'' series. (Most prominently, the character eventually named Bastila Shan was originally supposed to be Vima Sunrider, an established character from ''TOTJ''.) Lately, however, Lucasfilm clarified that the agreement was reached that allowed Sunriders to appear and be mentioned within stories themselves, as long as the name does not appear in the title of the work in any way. The strangest part, though, is that nobody seems to know who the real-life company that made the dispute ''is'', or what kind of claim they actually had to the "Sunrider" name.
* Another weird meta-example happens in ''ThePrincessBride''. Goldman, who allegedly is abridging Morgenstern's classic novel, interrupts the narrative from time to time to explain why he was cutting stuff out. The Miracle Max scene involves Fezzik and Inigo having to go get certain ingredients for the miracle pill, and Goldman explains that it feels a little like the Wizard of Oz making Dorothy go get the Wicked Witch's broom, but that the original version of the PrincessBride actually predates the ''WizardOfOz'', so, although it was ''really'' Baum ripping of Morgenstern, it comes off the other way round.
** In reality, it was Goldman ripping off (or perhaps giving a ShoutOut to) Baum.
* In Tom Wolfe's ''Literature/TheBonfireOfTheVanities'', characters ride around in {{BMW}}s and Mercedes but eat at "Texas Fried Chicken" and use their "Global Express" charge cards to pay for things.
* German youth book series ''Literature/{{TKKG}}'' with four heroes with their names starting with T, K, K and G respectively, had to rename the athletic protagonist from ''Tarzan'' to the more bland ''Tim''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* In a slightly bizarre reversal of this trope, ''TheSixMillionDollarMan'' once featured a villain named Barney Miller. Later, an unrelated cop show called ''BarneyMiller'' hit the airwaves, and became so popular that when producers of ''TheSixMillionDollarMan'' brought back their villain, they decided to {{Retcon}} his name to "Barney ''Hiller"'' to avoid confusion with the later, but better-known, character.
* Parodied in an episode of ''{{Frasier}}'', in which Roz comes up with a great idea for a children's story and manages to sell it to a publisher -- unfortunately, it turns out that the idea she's given them was ''Heidi'', which her mother used to read to her as a child. And the reason that her publisher didn't pick up on it is that he's younger than she is.
** The same thing happened on ''TheDickVanDykeShow'' when Laura wrote a children's book. The editor ''did'' catch the inadvertant plagiarism, and mentions that it happens all the time to first-time children's book authors.
* The ''Series/DoctorWho'' story "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS10E5TheGreenDeath The Green Death]]" featured an evil corporation called Global Chemicals. In the [[Literature/DoctorWhoNovelisations novelisation]], they were Panorama Chemicals, because the real Global Chemicals complained.
** Elsewhere in the {{Whoniverse}}, Bill and Ben Video produced a line of direct-to-video films featuring alumns from ''Series/DoctorWho'', often playing CaptainErsatz versions of the roles they'd previously held. The video ''Shakedown'' features the return of the Sontarans. One character is familiar with them from a previous adventure (which would later be recounted in a Literature/DoctorWhoNewAdventures novel of the same name), where they had been defeated by a travelling Time Lord whose name the character can't remember. The Dentist, or something.
** BBV also produced a series of audio dramas starring Sylvester [=McCoy=] and Creator/SophieAldred as "The Professor" and "Ace" ("Professor" had been Ace's nickname for The Doctor). The BBC did not find this sufficient, so they were eventually renamed The Dominie and Alice.
** The makers of the Australian-made spin-off series ''Series/{{K9}}'' have the rights to K9, but not to anything else in the {{Whoniverse}}. Consequentially, seconds after K9 is introduced, he is badly damaged, erasing most of his memory. Didn't stop them from sneaking in (clearly visible) drawings of a Sea Devil, a [[Recap/DoctorWhoS17E4NightmareOfEden Mandrel]] and an [[Recap/DoctorWhoS9E2TheCurseOfPeladon Alpha]] [[Recap/DoctorWhoS11E4TheMonsterOfPeladon Centauran]] in the episode "Curse of Anubis" though.
** On a related factoid, that series is also why K9 was only allowed cameos in Series 1 and 2 of ''Series/TheSarahJaneAdventures''; when it was made clear that the two series featured different K9 models[[note]]''Sarah Jane'' has the Mark IV introduced in the ''Series/DoctorWho'' episode [[Recap/DoctorWhoS28E3SchoolReunion "School Reunion"]], whereas WordOfGod on ''K9'' states that the starring model is the Mark I, the '''original''' K9... who, seconds after first appearing, self-destructs and is rebuilt into an upgraded, sleeker form because of the licensing hooplah. Coincidentally, last time we saw the Mark I in ''Doctor Who'', he was left on Gallifrey. Which would imply that he survived the Time Wars.[[/note]], K9 was allowed to have bigger roles in Series 3 of ''Sarah Jane''.
** Similar to the ''JenniferGovernment'' example above, this is why UNIT has shifted from ''United Nations'' Intelligence Taskforce to ''Unified'' Intelligence Taskforce (a blended acronym).
* In 1971, NRK-TV introduced a nameless marionette and asked the viewers to name it. After it had became famous as "Titten Tei", Andre von Drei, the freelance designer who had retained the rights to his work but was not involved in the naming, tried selling duplicates of the marionette as "TV Doll".
* One episode of ''LawAndOrder'' concerned a mass killing at a bar called "The Velvet Room". Unfortunately there was an actual bar by that name in New York, and the owners sued. As part of the settlement, NBC overdubbed every mention of the name as "The Vivant Room".
* ''Series/{{Castle}}'':
** One episode had an extended discussion about roofies without ever using the drug's trademark name "Rohypnol", everyone used the drug's non-trademarked generic name of "flunitrazepam".
** In another episode, Castle's agent tells him that he might be about to get an offer to write books about "a certain British spy" who uses lots of gadgets. Everyone manages to get through the entire episode without actually saying "Film/JamesBond"; InUniverse, it's because they're trying not to jinx the contract.
** There was also an episode where Alexis is setting up a profile for Martha on a popular social networking site; Martha tells Castle that she's getting a "[[MySpace My]][[{{Facebook}} Face]]" account. Castle starts to say "It's actually called--", but Alexis cuts him off before he can say the name, saying "Don't bother, I've been correcting her all morning". By playing on Martha's eccentricity and unfamiliarity with technology, they manage to write several scenes in which the site is discussed without ever saying either of the real (and trademarked) names, and leaving it unclear which service Martha is actually using.
* [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] in ''Series/TheColbertReport'''s 2010 [[UsefulNotes/OlympicGames Vancouverage]].
* The ''Series/RedDwarf'' episode "Kryten" featured a joke about how a crew of long-dead women (who were basically skeletons with clothes and hair) had "less meat on them than a Chicken [=McNugget=]." The producers muted the "Mc" before broadcast to avoid litigation from [=McDonald=]'s, and the edit remained on all home video releases except the SpecialEdition.
** However, Pot Noodles have been slated on several occasions (with Lister even preferring ''dog food'' over them), mainly because [[ActorAllusion Craig Charles]] [[RealLifeWritesThePlot himself despises them]].
* The ''Series/MythBusters'' once tested some tropes associated with Nocturnal-Echo-Locating-Flying-Mammal-Man.
-->'''Jamie:''' [[SubvertedTrope Batman?]]
-->'''Adam:''' [[LampshadeHanging Yeah. Shhh!]]
** On the other hand, many movies, TV shows, etc. are explicitly referenced (with occasional clips) in the show; entire episodes have been devoted to myths from specific series, including ''Film/JamesBond'', ''Series/MacGyver'', ''Series/BreakingBad'' (Vince Gilligan and Aaron Paul even made guest appearances), and ''Series/DeadliestCatch''.
** However, in general, the [=MythBusters=] genericize (read: cover the labels of) all the ''products'' they use in their testing. The only exception they made was in the "Diet Coke and Mentos" experiment, because the myth centered on ''those specific brands''.
* ''{{CSI NY}}'' just called Facebook pages 'profile pages' in one ep, to avoid license issues.
* In ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD'', one VillainOfTheWeek got their power from [[ILoveNuclearPower a nearby nuclear facility.]] He ''would'' have been called a mutant, but Marvel sold the rights to the use of the word when they sold the rights to the ''ComicBook/XMen'' franchise to Fox. Consequently, he is instead refereed to as a Gifted.
* In ''Series/{{Farscape}}'', the space mission on which the astronaut hero John Crichton got sucked through a wormhole was under the auspices of IASA, the '''Inter'''national Aeronautics and Space Administration. This was because NASA refused to allow its name and logo to be used in the show unless they were given [[BackedByThePentagon more influence over content]] than the showrunners were willing to put up with.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* The band ''Green [[HeavyMetalUmlaut Jellö]]'' were enjoined to change their name by Kraft Foods, makers of Jell-O. They changed their name to ''Green Jell’''... which is [[ItIsPronouncedTroPAY still pronounced "Jello".]]
* Music/TheKinks' "Lola", in some of its releases, alters the line "when you drink champagne and it tastes just like Coca-Cola" to "cherry cola" because the BBC wouldn't play the song if it mentioned a commercial product. The band had to interrupt an American tour so the alternate version could be recorded.
** Music/ChuckBerry's "Maybelline" suffered the same fate.
** Likewise, the Amazing Rhythm Aces had to change a line in their hit "Third Rate Romance" ("They went to the Holiday Inn/Family Inn").
** And Paul Simon's "Kodachrome" was simply banned completely, since the brand name was used so often in the lyrics and in the title of the song.
* Post-Waters Music/PinkFloyd couldn't use the Pig trademark anymore, because Roger claimed it was his idea and he was the copyright holder. So, they simply added testicles to it.
* When The Jackson 5 were signed to Motown records, the company trademarked their name. When they eventually left the label for more creative control, they were forced to rename themselves and became The Jacksons.
* The band RelientK is named after the car they use -- a Plymouth Reliant K -- but to avoid trademark issues, they just changed the spelling.
* The punk band "Redd Kross" started life as "Red Cross", with the expected symbol as their logo... until [[UsefulNotes/TheRedCross the International Red Cross]] informed them that they were [[SeriousBusiness potentially violating the Geneva Conventions, and United States law, by using a "protected symbol" on anything other than a medical facility]].
* Thousands of businesses, bands, and other organizations have tried to add the name "Olympics" to their group name. Some even have the [[RefugeInAudacity audacity to justify]] a particularly mercenary form of intellectual property theft by claiming that the public's view of the Olympic Games will somehow be "improved" by being associated with a pizza joint or obscure indie band. "Olympics" is, however, a trademark of the local Olympic organizing committee.
* In 1974, Camel recorded their only instrumental concept album, ''Music Inspired by The Snow Goose'', a top fan choice, and often regarded as their greatest accomplishment. The qualifier "''Music Inspired by...''" was included in the title as a result of legal threats by Paul Gallico, author of the short story on which it was based. Plans to include narration or write a few lyrics, which could have brought the album closer to being considered legally as a derivative work, were also excluded largely a result of this. [[note]]In 1976, ''The Snow Goose'', orchestrated by Ed Welch, narrated by Spike Milligan and featuring the London Symphony Orchestra, was released by RCA. Paul Gallico lived just long enough to help write it, but not hear it recorded. Those who know about it mostly do so via recountings of this very example, and the album itself has had three rather limited releases and never came anywhere near charting. Given that his initial opposition was apparently driven by antipathy to smoking and the supposition that Camel were named after the cigarettes (they weren’t, in spite of the ''Mirage'' cover design), it would appear that Gallico could have thought better of this.[[/note]] Camel also spent some time at lawsuits drawn over the cover graphics on the album prior to that, ''Mirage'', which were inspired by the Camel cigarette packet design. Legal thrusts from R.J. Reynolds Tobacco lead on to abortive talks on cross-promotion and sponsorship, and eventually no action was taken and Camel just avoided using such graphics in later releases.
* In 2006, the supergroup Supernova was formed after picking a lead singer via the reality show / singing competition ''Rock Star''. However, an already-existing band of that name (best known for "Chewbacca" from the ''Film/{{Clerks}}'' soundtrack) was granted an injunction against them. Since they couldn't entirely abandon a name that was already so heavily promoted, the band named themselves after their season of the show and became Rock Star Supernova.
* Millencolin's debut, initially released only in Scandinavia, was titled ''Tiny Tunes'', and even had cover art parodying the logo of ''TinyToonAdventures''. When it saw release in the U.S., it had different cover art and became ''Same Old Tunes'', a title that both steered clear of Warner Brothers' trademark and reflected the fact that fans who already had an import of the album wouldn't be hearing anything new from this one. For similar reasons, the song "Disney Time" from the same album was retitled "Diznee Time".
* Metal / garage rock band Speedealer started out as REO Speedealer, obviously parodying the name of REOSpeedwagon. After getting a cease and desist notice, they had to drop the "REO".
* Likewise Jefferson Airhead, who ran into trouble with [[Music/JeffersonAirplane Jefferson Starship]] and became simply Airhead.
* Brit band Verve became The Verve after a run-in with the jazz label Verve.
* Apparently, the Music/WeirdAlYankovic song "I'll Sue Ya" says the name of the companies listed, but the lyrics are changed so that they read different but are pronounced the same.
* dada's 1993 hit "Dizz Knee Land".
* Likewise, 80s rock band "D.A.D." was originally called Disneyland After Dark, but they shortened it to an acronym after complaints from Disney.
* Hip-hop group the X-Ecutioners were originally known as the Comics/XMen. Take a wild guess why they had to change it. Their original name is still occasionally referenced in song lyrics, most notably in Music/LinkinPark collaboration "It's Goin' Down."
* Electronica group Death In Vegas were originally billed as Dead Elvis, but the estate of Music/ElvisPresley objected. Apparently, there was nothing stopping them from using it as a title (as opposed to an artist name), so ''Dead Elvis'' became the name of their first album instead.
* Death From Above 1979 were originally Death From Above, and released two [=EPs=] under that name. The "1979" was added to their name due to a legal dispute with the record label DFA [[note]] DFA Records was originally Death From Above Records, but started abbreviating the name [[TooSoon after 9/11]]
* Uncle Kracker originally planned to use Cracker as his stage name, until the band of that name objected. Cracker (the band) would later include a TakeThat in their song "What You're Missing" - "That's 'Cracker' with a 'C', not 'K', or 'Uncle', understand?".
[[/note]].

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* Wrestling/{{WWE}} used to be the WWF, but it changed its name after a suit by the World Wildlife Fund (they used to have an agreement, but it went sour); all previous mentions of "WWF" were bleeped out from old clips. Also, the "scratch" version of the WWF logo is blurred out of clips, since it was specifically named in the lawsuit, but the original logo was allowed to remain. Old mentions of the "World Wrestling Federation" are allowed to stand as well; it's only when it's referred to as the "WWF" that it gets bleeped.
** Thankfully, since 2012, the WWE can show clips from the {{Attitude Era}} uncensored and unedited.
* In the late 1990s, Wrestling/VinceRusso had the brilliant idea to introduce a wrestling vampire named [[Wrestling/DavidHeath Gangrel]]. It was a great idea...that White Wolf already had when making the Gangrel vampire clan in ''TabletopGame/VampireTheMasquerade''. Wrestling/{{WWE}} (then the WWF) was able to get a deal that kept his name for the small token of putting White Wolf's name at the beginning of every broadcast (and video game) he appeared in.
** When Gangrel showed up years later on ''Raw'' in a one-off appearance, White Wolf sued WWE for trying to infringe upon their trademark; they lost due to the fact that they couldn't prove that the usage of the name for that one-shot appearance was enough to be infringing.
*** In the WWE Encyclopedia, his entry is "David Heath (Known in WWE as Gangrel)".
*** Also in the encyclopedia, one time flagship TV show "Superstars of Wrestling" goes unmentioned in the TV timeline, presumably due to the issues surrounding THAT trademark. Why they didn't use the alternate name "Superstars" is unknown. This same dispute means that "Superstars of Wrestling" banners are blurred and episodes of the show itself tend not to be shown until the "of wrestling" was dropped.
* The trademark for "Wrestling/HulkHogan" is jointly owned by Marvel Comics, creators of ''The Incredible Hulk'' because when Hogan began working for the WWF, Vince [=McMahon=] (then most visible as an announcer) got carried away and began referring to him as "The incredible Hulk Hogan". Needless to say, Marvel gave Vince a call...
** Which is why, when Wrestling/{{WCW}} hired Hogan in the mid-'90s, they used the Wrestling/NewWorldOrder angle to change his full ring name to "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan; the announcers routinely just dropped the "Hulk" part of his name and called him "Hollywood Hogan", which meant Marvel didn't see as many royalties.
** A similar incident ocurred with WCW, who introduced a character called "[[Franchise/SpiderMan Arachniman]]", who dressed in a yellow-and-purple colored costume. Needless to say, Marvel was not amused.
* Since the advent of Wrestling/{{TNA}} and the various independent promotions in the United States, the names of wrestlers who jump ship from one promotion to another can often change because of trademark claims. One of the most famous subversions of this is Jay Reso: while employed by WWE, he was known as Wrestling/{{Christian}}. When he left the company, thanks to owning the trademark to his pre-WWE name -- Christian Cage -- he was able to use that name elsewhere. (When he returned to WWE, he dropped the "Cage" and went back to just "Christian".) Other examples:
** When Wrestling/TheDudleyBoys went to TNA, they were forced to give up the Dudley name because WWE owned practically every ECW-related trademark and copyright; they became Team 3D (named after their finisher, which was originally called the Dudley Death Drop). Bubba Ray and Devon became Brother Ray and Brother Devon, and (during his brief stint in the company) Little Spike Dudley became Brother Runt.
** TNA does this with some incoming wrestlers in order to be able to exclusively own the trademark to a ring name (in some cases, this also allows a wrestler to keep their independent circuit ring name). Amusingly enough, the best examples of this were all part of their women's division: [[Wrestling/KiaStevens Awesome Kong (Amazing Kong elsewhere)]], Velvet Sky and Angelina Love (Talia Madison and Angel Williams, respectively), Madison Rayne (Lexi Lane or Ashley Lane), and Roxxi Laveaux (Nikki Roxx).
** Like the aforementioned Dudley Boys, almost all of TNA's August 2010 Pay-Per-View Hardcore Justice is filled with Writing Around Trademarks. To name a few examples, the Wrestling/{{ECW}} alumni are always referred to as EV 2.0, the promotion they became famous in is referred to only as "the Philadelphia promotion", wrestler Justin Credible is referred to only as P.J Polaco (his real name), and two members of the FBI (which they interestingly were able to use) were called "Tony Luke" (Tony Mamaluke) and [[Wrestling/LittleGuidoMaritato Guido Maritato (Little Guido in ECW)]].
* A quickly resolved trademark dispute (apparently initiated by former promoter Jim Crockett) led to WWE briefly changing the spelling of Wrestling/RicFlair to "Rick Flair."
* An interesting reverse is the case of one of WCW main faces Wrestling/{{Sting}}, Steve Borden had actually purchased the trademark before the more widely known singer had. This means that every performance the singer gives he has to pay a royalty to Borden for use of the name (Steve isn't a dick about it and its apparently a token amount like 1$)
* Wrestling/KurtAngle's finisher was originally called the Olympic Slam. Eventually, it became known as the Angle Slam.
* Billy Jack was required to change his name to Billy Haynes, and eventually Billy Jack Haynes, after Tom Laughlin threatened legal action for using the same name as Laughlin's movie character. The in universe explanation was that Billy wanted to honor his father's name once he won the [[http://www.wrestling-titles.com/us/pnw/nwa/pnw-h.html NWA Pacific Northwest Heavyweight Title]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Role Playing Games]]
* A Tolkien-related lawsuit was the reason why ''DungeonsAndDragons'' has Balors instead of Balrogs and treants instead of Ents. {{Hobbits}} were renamed to halflings, which is apparently OK even though ''TheLordOfTheRings'' uses it as a synonym for hobbits. (the word "halfling" existed before Tolkien's works, however) At least in earlier editions, the D&D Halflings still bear a much-too-close resemblance to Tolkien's Hobbits, particularly with their division into Hairfoots, Tallfellows and Stouts (with Tolkien's Hobbits being Harfoots, Fallohides and Stoors).
** In what is either an {{homage}} or a deliberate insult (or maybe just a LampshadeHanging), the [=4e=] Monster Manual illustration of a treant looks ''exactly'' like [[http://www.agonyboothmedia.com/images/articles/The_Lord_of_the_Rings_1978/lord_of_the_rings_65.jpg Treebeard as shown in Ralph Bakshi's version of the movies]].
** The ''Deities & Demigods'' book had to be revised when the owners of trademarked deities complained. The Cthulhu Mythos was believed to be in the public domain, so TSR assumed they could legally use it without any special permission. However, Arkham House, which held the copyright on most Cthulhu books had already licensed the Cthulhu property to the game company Chaosium. They were required to provide a credit to the game company Chaosium. Later they removed Cthulhu and several other gods so as to not contain such an overt reference to one of their competitors. For this reason, the first and second printings have generally been in greater demand by D&D fans and collectors.
*** Same scenario with [[AddedAlliterativeAppeal Michael Moorcock's Melnibonean mythos]], except that TSR actually did get permission from Moorcock beforehand. Moorcock apparently had forgotten that Chaosium already held the license to those characters when he gave TSR the go-ahead to use them.
** PhilFoglio did a ''ComicStrip/WhatsNewWithPhilAndDixie'' cartoon for TSR's ''Magazine/{{Dragon}}'' magazine that included a trip to the legal department. The staff there was very choosy with words: "Have you seen my engagment 'circular metal band?'" "The phone is 'circular metal banding'!!" At which point Phil's avatar asks [[http://www.airshipentertainment.com/growfcomic.php?date=20080504 "Are you still having trouble with the Tolkien estate?"]]
* In an example on the other side of the [[strike:halfling]] coin, SPI produced a role playing game called [=DragonQuest=] in 1980; when they went bankrupt in 1992, TSR picked it up and ran it as an alternate line to ''Dungeons and Dragons''. Because of this, the Japanese RPG series ''DragonQuest'' had to be renamed ''Dragon Warrior'' in North America until SquareEnix finally secured the name in 2005.
* When Greg Stafford brought a new game system (no longer ''RuneQuest'') to Glorantha (with the help of Robin Laws), he wanted to name it ''[=HeroQuest=]'' based on the mighty mythical quests people went on to gain power. Unfortunately, the ''[=HeroQuest=]'' board game was still under trademark, and so ''Hero Wars'' came out instead. (Eventually, the trademarked lapsed and now there is a ''[=HeroQuest=]'' RPG, although it is generic and not limited to Glorantha.)
* In one Open Gaming License product, 'mindflayers' and 'illithids' were referred to in the supplement as Brain-eating Tentacle-faced things.
** The ''FightingFantasy'' gamebook series pulled a similar trick with its own versions of the mind flayers. To get around the TSR trademark, Ian Livingstone called his equivalents "Brain Slayers."
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theater]]
* In the ScreenToStageAdaptation of ''SecondhandLions'', Princess Jasmine's name was changed to Samira to avoid copyright conflict with the princess of the same name from Disney's ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}'', whose stage musical also premiered at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theater.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Toys and Scale Models]]
* In ''{{Transformers}},'' sometimes older characters' names are used and trademarked by companies other than Hasbro, so new versions of the character must be renamed. Trailbreaker has become "Trailcutter", Runabout is now "Over-Run", and for a long time Bluestreak was "Silverstreak" before Hasbro finally managed to get the "Bluestreak" trademark back. There's also Shockblast (Shockwave), Hardshell (Bombshell), Skyblast (Skyfire), and Sharpshot (Shrapnel; sometimes you can't even get close!) Ever since they realized this was happening (there was a long stretch when older characters were effectively never revisited, so nobody thought to check), Hasbro has used an assortment of tricks to try to prevent it:
** Newer Transformers' names are typically nonsense words that are easier to defend as trademarks, preventing other companies from using them -- it's not likely anyone else is going to try to trademark "Heavytread" or "Deadlift."
** Older Transformers with names that haven't been lost yet but easily ''could'' be are usually slightly renamed into things that are easier to trademark, through the use of prefixes (recent toy versions of Ratchet and Tracks are ''technically'' named "Autobot Ratchet" and "Turbo Tracks") or XtremeKoolLetterz (a new version of Scattershot was called "Scatt'''o'''rshot").
** And once Hasbro grabs a name, any name, they make a point of using it as much as possible. ''UnicronTrilogy'' Megatron kept renaming himself to Galvatron and back so Hasbro could keep both names in active use. Similarly, new characters often have the same names as completely unrelated older characters just so Hasbro can have a claim to the name--''[[TransformersArmada Armada]]'' Perceptor had nothing whatsoever to do with [[Franchise/TransformersGeneration1 Generation One]] Perceptor, but he helped hold on to the trademark until Hasbro decided years later to make a new Perceptor toy.
** TheMovie introduces Hot Rod, who becomes Rodimus Prime. He's run into this problem lately: we haven't heard the name "Hot Rod" since TheEighties, a non-Prime Rodimus is simply Rodimus rather than Hot Rod, even if he's explicitly the G1 incarnation. A recent comic featuring TheGreatestStoryNeverTold taking place behind the scenes of the movie, before his change, had to work around it: he's not Rodimus Prime yet, but they ''can't'' call him Hot Rod, so ''the entire story manages to never call him by name.''
** On rare occasion, the answer to "why is the new version of X named something else?" isn't this: [[Anime/TransformersRobotsInDisguise X-Brawn isn't named Brawn]] ''purely'' because [[XtremeKoolLetterz X-es are cool]], according to WordOfGod. Also, ''Armada'' had a fairly major character who in the US was named Wheeljack. ''[[TransformersEnergon Energon]]'', a direct sequel to ''Armada'', went on to unexpectedly introduce a character who looked essentially identical to G1 Wheeljack, but had no connection to the ''Armada'' character. There was no way to do ArcWelding: ''Armada'' Wheeljack was a ''former'' Autobot with a grudge for his having been left behind in a battle. ''Energon'' "Wheeljack"... wasn't. Hasbro collectively sighed and called the Wheeljack lookalike "Downshift."
** In all advertising and packaging, his name isn't "Jazz". It's "''[[InsistentTerminology Autobot]]'' Jazz". "Jazz" cannot easily be trademarked because it is such a generic term.
* This is also true of ''Franchise/GIJoe'' toys; either due to a desire to strengthen a trademark claim, or due to having lost the trademark between the ''RAH'' line's original shutdown and later revival, several characters either had their codenames changed (As with Transformers, a Joe called "Shockwave" became "Shockblast"), or in a manner similar to "Autobot Jazz", are carded with names like "Sgt. Bazooka" or "Albert 'Alpine' Pine".
** Sometimes they do both: the latest figure of the character once known as Thunder was called "Sgt. Thunderblast". A few years later, a figure of "Dreadnok Thunder" came out (based on a character previously called Thrasher) -- so apparently the name "Sgt. Thunder" didn't pass trademark. And they didn't want to use "Dreadnok Thrasher" for some reason.
* When the ''Sylvanian Families'' toy line was relaunched in the United States, the distributor renamed the franchise ''[[TastesLikeDiabetes Calico Critters]]'' because "Sylvania" happens to be the name of a manufacturer of electrical products. (Mercifully, the United States is the only country where they fell victim to this.)
** They're called Calico Critters in Canada, as well.
* Tamiya has an entire line of WorldWarTwo light vehicles without the manufacturers' names - the German (Volkswagen) Type 82 Kubelwagen, the British (Austin) 10 HP Utility, the US Army (Ford) Staff Car - while others like the Jeep MB and Citroen Traction Avant carry full manufacturers' licensing.
** VW is ''notorious'' for not wanting its products to be seen as war machines. At one point the ''entire product line before 1948'' was CanonDiscontinuity.
*** Of course, Volkswagen's stance ''does'' make sense, of sorts, once you learn who [[AdolfHitler one of the company's founders was...]] Being one of the few entities to survive intact from [[ThoseWackyNazis the Third Reich]] is [[NeverLiveItDown a bit hard to live down.]]
* Mattycollector.com's 12-inch ''Film/{{Ghostbusters}}'' figures' Proton Packs come equipped with "Shippard valves" (read: "Clippard valves"). TheRealGhostbusters toyline avoided this by licensing the ECTO-1 from Cadillac and the Highway Haunter (a yellow Beetle) from Volkswagen; the cars' boxes carried disclaimers.
* Prior to 1965, "yo-yo" was trademarked by Duncan, and competing companies had to call their products by awkward euphemisms like "spinning string top." In 1965 the Royal Top Company successfully sued for the right to use the term on the grounds that it had become part of common English. It's apparently still trademarked in Canada, though.
* As Wham-O ''still'' owns the trademark on the word "Frisbee", this has led to several entities having to dodge the term.
** The makers of ''TheSecretOfNIMH'' had to change the main character's name from the original Frisby to Brisby.
** ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' episode ''A Tale of Two Springfields'' has Bart refer to a "Novelty Flying Disc".
** This was played with a bit in ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants'', where [=SpongeBob=] and Patrick decide to play a game of Small Plastic Disk That You Throw (Small Plastic Disk That You Toss for short).
** Pretty much any non-Wham-O entities who seek to sell or distribute their own version of a tossable pie-tin has to do this. ''Summer Fun Disc'' is what Burger King called the toy in its ([[FollowTheLeader equivalent of]]) "Happy Meals" in the 1990s.
* One intermission video for the fourth ''Manga/YuruYuri'' concert has the cast playing a block-stacking "balance game". When RumiOokubo asks if it isn't simply a game of Jenga (with the brand name being [[SoundEffectBleep replaced]] with "\Akkari~n/") ShioriMikami responds that while it might seem like that, it's really something completely different.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* A famous example (though in terms of copyright rather than trademark) is the ''VideoGame/JungleHunt'' controversy. When Taito originally released the game (as ''Jungle King''), it was an obvious take on the ''{{Tarzan}}'' stories and included the famous "Tarzan call" (which was a pretty impressive feat for the early 1980's). Unsurprisingly, Taito got taken to court by the estate of Edgar Rice Burroughs (original author of the books), so they had to hack in some changes to please the courts. Tarzan and the yell were out, a British guy in stereotypical pith helmet and gear is in, and the result is ''Jungle Hunt''.
* This is the reason why the Japanese phenomenon ''Pocket Monsters'' was renamed ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'' in the west; as there was an toy line (with an accompanying TV series and an NES game) titled ''Monsters in my Pocket''. Of course, it was already an PortmanteauSeriesNickname in Japan, and pretty much ''everyone'' over there already called it that.
* VideoGame/DukeNukem was briefly renamed Duke Nukum after someone discovered the Duke Nukem character in ''CaptainPlanet''. It ultimately turned out the name wasn't trademarked, so the game character quickly went back to his original name.
* Nintendo won a case against Universal Studios, who claimed to be the owners of ''Film/KingKong'', to keep the name ''VideoGame/DonkeyKong'' -- a case helped by the fact that Universal didn't actually own ''King Kong'' at the time after all. Ironically, some 20 years later, Universal distributed Peter Jackson's ''King Kong'' remake.
* ''CityOfHeroes'' has a side mission where you have to rescue a character who's an obvious pastiche of Comicbook/DoctorStrange. He was originally named Dr. Stephen Strangefate, after both Doctor Strange and similar DC character Doctor Fate. ... However, this had actually already been used in the comics as the name for the merged version of the two done under the [[ComicBook/AmalgamUniverse Amalgam Comics]] imprint, so later versions changed his name to Doctor [[SpellMyNameWithAnS Fayte]].
* This is the reason why ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars'' was localized as ''Super Robot Taisen'' in the West; they were worried about conflicts with ''Series/RobotWars''.
* ''[[VideoGame/SonicStorybookSeries Sonic and the Secret Rings]]'' was going to be called ''Sonic Wildfire'' but "Wildfire" had already been trademarked.
* In the ''PunchOut'' Wii game, Japanese boxer Piston Honda has had his name changed to Piston Hondo. One of his dialogues was also rewritten for the Virtual Console release of the NES game. (However, as "Honda" is a real Japanese name, any attempts by the car company to sue over the use of that name would likely fail.)
* [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] to hell and back in the InteractiveFiction game ''Toonesia''. Bud Bunny, Elmer Fuld, Dizzy Duck. Oh, and the Tasmanian Devil. Which is OK because it's a real animal.
* The first installment of {{Sierra}}'s ''VideoGame/QuestForGlory'' series was actually released as ''Hero's Quest'', but was swiftly changed because of TSR's ''[=HeroQuest=]'' boardgame.
** After the release of ''Quest for Glory III: Wages of War'', Sierra's legal team found out that another videogame company had already trademarked the title "Wages of War." So Sierra made plans to reissue the game as ''Seekers of the Lost City'' (a nod to ''Film/RaidersOfTheLostArk''). Before the re-release was completed, though, the company that had trademarked ''Wages of War'' closed its doors. While [=QFG3=] was never released with the new name, the [=QFG4=] in-game documentation uses the revised [=QFG3=] title in its descriptions of the prior installments (though the CD version refers to it properly).
** Likewise, various SpaceQuest games featured stores like Droids-R-Us and Radio Shock, which were renamed in subsequent versions of the game after legal threats (to Droids-B-Us and Hz So Good, respectively).
** The name SpaceQuest is also an example of this trope: After releasing the game Sierra found out the name was owned by the Children's Museum of Indianapolis. An agreement was made to pay a small fee to the museum, and from Space Quest IV on "Space Quest" gets a small space on the box while main character Roger Wilco is emphasized.
* ''SilentHillShatteredMemories'' features a high school which is putting on a school production of... "[[Theatre/{{Annie}} Connie]]''.
** Unintentionally, that also evokes the (flopped) stage production of a certain, much more tone-appropriate [[Literature/{{Carrie}} novel]].
* ''Rockman X'' has TheDragon VAVA. [[CaptainErsatz Tell me that]] [[http://megaman.wikia.com/wiki/File:Mhx_vilestand.PNG this guy]] [[StarWars doesn't remind you of anyone...]] So, when the series was released stateside as ''VideoGame/MegaManX'', he was renamed ''Vile''. Subtle.
* ''{{Scribblenauts}}'' has the same "Frisbee" problem as mentioned above. The item doesn't really have any other name in the public consciousness than that, but it goes with "Flying Disc." The same goes with other properties: "[[StarWars Lightsaber]]" won't work, but "Laser sword" does.
* Since Creator/{{Nintendo}} trademarked the word {{Wii}}, any game on the system trying for that name would have to do something similar, like ''WeCheer''.
* The Game of the Year edition of ''VideoGame/PlantsVsZombies'' had to make a few changes. The Dancing Zombie was changed from an {{homage}} to MichaelJackson's "Thriller" to a generic [[EverythingsFunkierWithDisco disco dancer]] with a FunnyAfro, and the original Almanac entry for the Zomboni was replaced with a tongue-in-cheek disclaimer / EnforcedPlug:
-->Not to be mistaken for a Zamboni® brand ice resurfacing machine. Zamboni® and the image of the ice resurfacing machine are registered trademarks of Frank J. Zamboni & Co., Inc., and "Zomboni" is used with permission. For all your non-zombie-related ice resurfacing needs, visit www.zamboni.com!
* The western release of ''VideoGame/JoJosBizarreAdventureAllStarBattle'' had to change many character names in order to stay out of trouble with copyright laws, although many of the changes still count as musical [[ShoutOut Shout Outs]] (for instance, "[[TheRollingStones Sticky Fingers]]" to "Zipper Man", a reference to the Stand's zipper-based abilities and the cover of the album featuring the song "Sticky Fingers" showing a man's zipper prominently) while others are more straight-forward references to the Stand's appearance and powers ("{{Aerosmith}}" to "Lil' Bomber).
* In ''VideoGame/OperationDarkness'', [[Creator/HPLovecraft Herbert West]], the mad scientist with the ability to revive the other characters, had his surname altered to ''East'' for the English localization. The story is in the public domain, but given a legal incident with ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' using Lovecraft's public-domain characters mentioned above, they probably wanted to be safe.
* ''VideoGame/MegaManUnlimited'' was originally called ''Mega Man 10'' until Capcom made an actual ''VideoGame/MegaMan10'' in the series. Also, Trinitro Man was originally called Nitro Man, but was renamed to distinguish itself from the official one.
* This was the reason ''VideoGame/TalesOfEternia'' was released as ''VideoGame/TalesOfDestiny II'' in the US[[note]]It made things confusing when an actual ''VideoGame/TalesOfDestiny2'' came out for the PS2[[/note]]: [[Franchise/MastersOfTheUniverse Mattel already had "Eternia" trademarked]].
* ''WallyBearAndTheNoGang'' was originally supposed to be called the [[DrugsAreBad "Just Say No"]] Gang, but former first lady Nancy Reagan already trademarked the phrase.
* When ''VideoGame/StarTropics II'' was rereleased on the Wii Virtual Console, the Tetrads were renamed "Blocks," since Nintendo no longer has the rights to ''VideoGame/{{Tetris}}''.
** The yo-yo in the first game was renamed to "Island Star" for the Virtual Console release, due to the former being trademarked in Canada (it has been generic in the US since 1965).
* ''The Last V8'' for the Commodore 64 is clearly based on ''MadMax'', which had a LicensedGame on the NES.
* The ''DragonQuest'' games up to ''VII'' were titled ''Dragon Warrior'' in the US, due to a tabletop RPG using the former name.
* Similar to ''Film/TheHobbit'' example in film section, ''TheLordOfTheRingsOnline'' uses flashbacks to show Sauron is his beautiful form, which he used to beguile the Elves into crafting Rings of Power. He used the name "Annatar", but the works that mention it are not covered by the game's license, so a close Sindarin form of "Antheron" is used instead.
* XBLA title ''Trenched'' was changed to ''VideoGame/IronBrigade'' after a lawsuit was threatened by a European company which owns a WWI-themed board game of the same name.
* The MarketBasedTitle ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil'' came due to trademark issues surrounding the name ''Biohazard'' [[note]]In addition to being a generic, commonly-used term that likely would have been difficult to meaningfully trademark, another video game (a 1992 game by the name of ''Bio-Hazard Battle'', released in Japan as ''Crying: Aseimei Sensou'') and a band were already using the name as well.[[/note]], which led to Capcom staff holding an internal contest to rename the first game in the franchise prior to its US and European release.
* Incidentally, this is also the origin of Lara Croft. The original concept design for the protagonist of the Tomb Raider game was a tall man in kahkis with a brimmed hat and a satchel. Upon seeing it, one of the creative team announced "[[IndianaJones Where's his whip? We're gonna get sued!]]" So they replaced that character with the now-legendary [[MsFanservice Lara.]]
* The Black History from ''Anime/TurnAGundam'' is a major plot point throughout the ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsZ'' series. However, ''∀'' wasn't included in ''Z3'', so the Banpresto writing staff got around this by adding a single hiragana to the name, changing it from "Kuro Rekishi" (黒歴史) to "Kuro'''i''' Rekishi" (黒い歴史), which has exactly the same meaning.
* ''VideoGame/GranTurismo'' for a while didn't have Porsche, but they did have RUF, which is a manufacturer that uses Porsche bodies with their own machinery. The CTR, for example, is an 80's Porsche 911.
* [[VideoGame/BanjoKazooie Banjo-Tooie]]: In the original Nintendo 64 version, Kazooie tells Loggo, a talking toilet, that he should call a plumber to get himself unclogged, specifically Mario. In the XboxLiveArcade port, because Rare no longer works under Nintendo, Mario is merely alluded to as "the famous Italian one."
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'''s oft-quoted "Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates" was changed to "Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries" after the author received a letter from the lawyers of Stephen Covey (the RealLife book is ''Seven Habits of Highly Effective People'') about the trademark. Though a fair-use parody argument could be made, the author admitted he was glad for the excuse to make the {{retcon}} because the original choice of title was admittedly lazy, the "seven habits" part was a NonIndicativeTitle since they number upwards of 30, and the new title opens more possibilities for TheMerch.
* Jokingly used in ''Help Desk''. Ubersoft has trademarked the concept of the OK Button, but another company has trademarked the term OK Button. So Ubersoft rewrites its software so that all OK Buttons are now Right On Switches. This is why letting annoyingly cute mascot paperclips name things isn't a good idea.
* ''Webcomic/{{Eatatau}}'' pretty obviously takes place in the ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' setting, but any name that's Creator/GamesWorkshop copyright gets extra letters added on (e.g. "Tau" becomes "Ttau" and "Kroot" becomes "Kroott"). Darius ignores this for terms like Eldar and Space Marine because they're [[OlderThanTheyThink Older than GW Claims]].

[[/folder]]

[[folder:WebOriginal]]
* Because he was denied the rights to ''JustForFun/InspectorSpacetime'', Travis Richey was forced to create an ''[[LongTitle Untitled Web Series About A Space Traveler Who Can Also Travel Through Time]]''.
* A ''LegionOfNetHeroes'' series was originally named after its lead characters, Airwave and Vigilante Guy. Airwave, however, was already the name of several (admittedly obscure) DC characters, and the author decided better safe than sorry and as of the third issue renamed the character to "Decibel Dude".
* ''WebAnimation/BarbieLifeInTheDreamhouse'' has "Generic Flying Discs" instead of Frisbees, since Creator/{{Mattel}} owns Franchise/{{Barbie}}, and Wham-O owns a trademark on the name, "Frisbee". A few minor examples have Ken refer to Ikea as, "a Swedish furniture store", Skipper call Creator/TurnerClassicMovies, "[[TakeThat that channel nobody watches]]", and Chelsea refer to Starbucks as, "some coffee shop".
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Interestingly when ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'' writers created a character call Ichthultu, they only did this because they were unaware that Cthulhu was a PublicDomainCharacter.
** Not according to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._P._Lovecraft#Copyright Arkham House Publishers Inc.]], which was one of the reasons ''TheRealGhostbusters'' episode homaging Lovecraft's works called the monster "Cathulhu".
* Many in ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible''.
** Mego's costume is purple because he's a shrinker....
** Bueno Nacho is an analogue of Taco Bueno.
** The supermarket chain Smarty-Mart, a blatant reference to Wal-Mart.
** Kim goes to see ChickFlick ''The Memo Pad'' with Shego. (''Film/TheNotebook'')
** Drakken gets himself on American Starmaker as part of an EvilPlan.
** Towards the end, there's a magazine called ''Humans'' (probably a stand-in for ''People'' magazine).
** There's also Ballroom With B Actors, and celebs like the Holsen twins, Britina and Oh Boyz.
** Sometimes this would be inconsistent: BradPitt and JuliaRoberts are mentioned by name, where others make a LawyerFriendlyCameo, and Ron has the Sony Ericsson ringtone.
* Because a character from ''The Flaming Carrot'' was already named Spongeboy, Creator/{{Nickelodeon}} changed the name to ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants''.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'' was to originally take place in the same universe as ''JohnnyQuest'', but Hanna-Barbera objected after the first season. So now it still technically does, but all of the ''Johnny Quest'' characters have had their names changed, or otherwise not brought up.
* Thorn was originally the name of Rose's alter ego on ''AmericanDragonJakeLong''. Turns out the dual identity "Rose and Thorn" already belonged to a DC superhero, and many episodes in the first season had to be re-recorded, changing the name "Thorn" to "Huntsgirl". Thorn is still used in plenty of {{Fora}} and FanFiction.
* LampshadeHanging: Sherri Bobbins of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' categorically denies that she is anything like Film/MaryPoppins; she's an original creation like Ricky Rouse or Monald Muck.
** Considering also Treehouse of Horror tale ''The Shinning,'' this is a recurring (if not running) gag.
--> '''Bart:''' You mean 'shining'? \\
'''Groundskeeper Willie:''' Shhh! [[YouWannaGetSued Ya wanna get sued]]?!
** In "The Otto Show"
-->'''Bart''': Otto-Man? You're living in a dumpster?\\
'''Otto''': Ho, man, I wish. Dumpster-brand trash bins are top-of-the-line. This is just a Trash-Co waste disposal unit.
** Also the "Purple Submersible" in "Last Exit to Springfield", and Lisa in the Sky, but not with diamonds.
** Heck, ''TheSimpsons'' episode "The Day the Violence Died" is all about the problems caused by oversensitive copyright and trademark infringement litigation, and features this trope.
** It pretty much is a running gag, the gag being how ridiculous it is to force people to conform to this trope (and the extra miles the show goes to make it blatantly obvious).
* ''TheFlintstones'' was originally called ''The Flagstones'', but a similar last name was already being used by the comic strip ''HiAndLois''.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'''s ''Film/TheWizardOfOz'' Parody included the song "We resemble but are legally distinct from the Lollipop Guild".
** The ''WesternAnimation/{{Beetlejuice}}'' cartoon's own Oz spoof described the land that Lydia lands in as "The Land of PublicDomain." The Beetles claim that they'd sing to Lydia, but that they weren't allowed, as one of them shows her the court order against doing so.
* An odd case in ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'': Hasbro had allowed the trademarks on many of the '80s characters to lapse -- including nearly all of the ones Lauren Faust wanted to use. Thus, the Mane Six are re-imagined versions of classic ponies redesigned and renamed after G3 ones -- Pinkie Pie especially is a lot closer to her original G1 version, Surprise, than her G3 namesake, as is Rainbow Dash to Firefly, Rarity to Sparkler, and Fluttershy to Posey. Oddly, the one that ''did'' get to be modeled on the intended G1 pony, Applejack, is very nearly an InNameOnly version.
** We also have Big Macintosh. The abbreviated version of his name, "Big Mac", is owned by McDonalds, so other characters can only say "Big Mac" sparingly, after they've already said the full "Big Macintosh" version in the same scene.
* Hasbro's GIJoe franchise had a similar problem when they had also let trademarks on those characters to lapse. It's believed to be the reason why Roadblock was replaced with near-identical cousin Heavy Duty in the ''[[GIJoeTheRiseOfCobra Rise of Cobra]]'' film. And within the action figure line, Rock and Roll was renamed Bench Press. However Hasbro did end up getting a few trademarks renewed since Roadblock was brought back as a prominent character on ''GIJoeRenegades'', ''GIJoeResolute'', and the live action sequel ''[[GIJoeRetaliation Retaliation]]''.
* Supposedly, a threat from BlizzardEntertainment led the staff of ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' to remove the [[BigBad Lich King's]] title and just call him The Lich.
* ''WesternAnimation/TopCat'' was known as ''Boss Cat'' in the United Kingdom as there was already a cat food brand called Top Cat. Only the on-screen title was changed (with a very rough cut to a very cheap-looking new title card), the theme tune lyrics continued to use "Top Cat".
* A similar issue to ''My Little Pony'''s Big Mac happened with the [[CutAndPasteTranslation Cut and Paste Dub]] of ''{{Tugs}}'', ''Salty's Lighthouse''. [[GeniusBruiser Big]] [[UsefulNotes/{{Scotland}} Mac's]] name was [[ClumsyCopyrightCensorship blacked-out]] and he was referred to as "Big Stack".
* As mentioned in the "Comics" section, MartianManhunter's snack cookie of choice was originally Oreos (later Choccos), but for his appearances in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold'' it was changed to ordinary chocolate-chip cookies.
* An in-universe, {{Lampshaded}} example occurs in the ''{{Robot Chicken}}'' sketch "We Are The Victors", depicting U.S. Libertarian Party conventions in various years. The speakers would pep up their crowd by predicting victory, but then due to not getting copyright permissions from various artists, would play a very similar substitute song--such as "We Are The Victors" (for {{Queen}}'s "We Are The Champions"), "We Are a Close-Knit Group" (for {{Sister Sledge}}'s "We Are Family"), "Friend Choo-Choo" (for {{The Ojays}}' "Love Train"), etc.
--> Candidate #1: Don't worry, Sister Sledge, this is not your copyright-protected musical hit "We Are Family". It's something better!
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/ThomasTheTankEngine'''s fifth series introduces a BR Class 17 diesel as a character. Originally he was to be named "Paxman", after the manufacturer of the Class 17's twin engines. The problem was that the character, like the real locomotive, suffered engine trouble, and the producers were worried about slandering the Paxman brand. In the episode he's NoNameGiven, while in the merchandise he's "Derek".

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Other]]

* Nissan Motor Company has its website at www.nissan-global.com because Nissan Computer already owned and used www.nissan.com (as well at .net), having registered it before the former got around to it. Nissan Motors sued, but unlike PETA and [[FunWithAcronyms People Eating Tasty Animals]], failed to get the domain transferred (the fact that Nissan Computer is an actual business helps).
* TCBY was originally called ''This Can't Be Yogurt'', but due to a lawsuit from competitor ''I Can't Believe It's Yogurt!'', they later changed their initials to ''The Country's Best Yogurt''.
* The Debian Linux distribution re-branded Firefox as Iceweasel, because Mozilla owns the trademark and the logo; even though the browser is open source, trademarks are generally not covered by such licenses (in fact, the Mozilla Public License explicitly states that trademark rights are not granted by it as with contributors' copyright and patents). The Debian team also re-branded Mozilla's other projects, Thunderbird and Seamonkey, as Icedove and Iceape for similar reasons. There are also other re-branded versions of Firefox floating around for use in open-source operating systems, such as GNU Icecat and the Trisquel's Abrowser (clever name on that last one, huh?)
** Firefox was originally called "Phoenix", and then "Firebird", but changed the name because both of these were already in use for other software. Phoenix was already trademarked by a BIOS developer, and Firebird was used by a free and open source database program, and as Mozilla Firebird (as it was known at the time) was also free and open source software, so Mozilla changed the name to Firefox for version 0.8 to respect the database as the insistence on including "Mozilla" in the full name was not considered to be above. (When Phoenix was renamed to Firebird, the Minotaur mail/news reader was renamed Thunderbird to go with the new bird name of its browser companion. Unlike Firefox, it retains the mythological bird name to this date.)
** Mozilla owns the trademarks for the official names for their products to protect their own image. The Firefox brand can only be used with an unmodified product. However, they are aware of the need for the [=FOSS=] community to be able to use their products unfettered, so they offer an easy way to compile versions of their products without trademark (which as seen above can then be renamed and relabeled at the desire of the distributor). The trademark-free version of Firefox keeps the Mozilla globe (which is free to distribute) and uses the particular version's code name, which is never trademarked.
* Even Alan Simpson on Fox News [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZstxpTBqL0 fell into this trope]] while trying to preach a "ThinkOfTheChildren" message.
* Many businesses parodying the ''PimpMyRide'' name were forced to do this after legal threats by Viacom, owner of the show and the "Pimp My" trademark. ''[[http://www.pimpthatsnack.com/ Pimp That Snack]]'', for example, was once called ''Pimp My Snack''.
* Even with an ad that [[http://madisonian.net/images/kulula.jpg all but lampshaded that they were not the official airline]] for the [[TheWorldCup 2010 FIFA World Cup]], and without even referring to the tournament by name, a South African discount airline ''still'' got threatened by FIFA for creating an "unauthorized association" with the tournament because of the ads imagery. FIFA and other major sports organizations have, lately, required host countries for their major events to implement strict laws to ban so-called "ambush marketing" in order to protect the official sponsors. With what FIFA ended up telling them, they were basically [[TradeSnark asserting a special trademark on anything culturally related to South Africa, and even the word "South Africa", if used in connection to a reference to football]]. Of course, they had to lampshade it further with their [[http://www.southafrica.to/transport/Airlines/Kulula-flights/2010/Kulula-football-free-ad.jpg new ad]], discussing an event happening "not next year, not last year, but somewhere in between."
* You may notice around the time of the Super Bowl that a lot of stores and restaurants will be advertising promotions for "The Big Game" or "Super Sunday"; the NFL aggressively enforces its trademark on the name of said game, limiting its use to official sponsors. In fact, they even tried to trademark the phrase "The Big Game", until they remembered that a particularly important college football rivalry game, between University of California, Berkeley and Stanford University, is actually called "the Big Game." (Or you can change some capital letters around, as StephenColbert did, and call it the "Superb Owl games."
* In Britain, the T.J. Maxx department store chain is called T.K. Maxx to avoid confusion with TJ Hughes department stores.
* This happens often with cars:
** The Hyundai Elantra was once known as the Lantra throughout much of Europe and Australia thanks to the similarly named Lotus Elan, as well as the Elante trim level offered on some of Mitsubishi's cars. When both cars were discontinued by 2001, the name was allowed to be used.
** The Lancia Montecarlo was called the Scorpion in the U.S. thanks to Chevrolet's Monte Carlo being sold there.
* During the 2012 OlympicGames in London, Nike released an ad about athletes finding greatness in London. But Nike wasn't an official sponsor, so they couldn't make an ad about the games themselves. Their solution? [[http://youtu.be/KYtMkhfQfa4 An ad]] that features athletes in places around the world called London (along with shots of various signs that say London)- just not the ones where the games were being held.
** Bookmaker Paddy Power pulled a similar stunt, with ads that proclaimed it was the sponsor of the "biggest sporting event in London this year" ... an egg-and-spoon race in a French village named London.
** In a bigger, non-ad version, ESPN Brazil was not allowed to broadcast the 2013 Confederations Cup. Instead they showed five commenters watching the game, many times reaching {{MST}} levels.
* Southwest Airlines and Stevens Aviation both began using a variation of "Just Plane Smart" as their slogan at around the same time. Instead of taking the matter to court, they decided to settle it with an armwrestling match between [=CEOs=] as a publicity stunt. The CEO of Stevens Aviation won, and promptly granted Southwest the right to use the phrase as well at no charge. The two companies got a lot of good press and raised about $15,000 for charity to boot.
* In August 2003, a Canadian Mike Rowe thought it'd be amusing to register the domain name [=MikeRoweSoft.com=]. However, Microsoft took note and sued in January 2004. But after the publicity, Microsoft settled with Mike and admitted they were overreaching in protecting their trademark.
[[/folder]]
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