Re: Is this too close to a copyright issue?

I don’t know how much this helps, but there was actually quite a ruckus when an author tried to trademark a word (I think it was ’Cocky’) and there was uproar in the author community because she reported a lot of books on Amazon with the word in their title. What came out after a good while was a confirmation that the trademark wasn’t for the word itself (like the author thought) but for how the word looked/was portrayed on the cover. So, what’s probably copyrighted is the exact phrase ”Storm Cauldron” and/or the contents of the card itself (how it looks), so I believe you should be safe. But I’m not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice (just putting this in there). 
You can probably look up the story on google—it’s been a while since I read/heard about it, but it might give you some sort of answer.
On the other hand, ”Harry Potter” is trademarked, but I believe that for such a trademark to go through, it has to be ”common knowledge” that the phrase belongs to the work. MTG is big in some circles, but I’m not sure a single card would qualify. Those are my speculations, anyway.

Oh, and make sure to look up if the card is trademarked or only copyright protected. They might sound like they’re the same, but they aren’t :) Usually, stuff like parts in a game etc. don’t get trademarked because it’s expensive, but games and companies usually trademark names of their company or product if it gets big enough. So, likely MTG is trademarked while individual cards aren’t. Look for the ”TM” or ”C” sign!

Re: Is this too close to a copyright issue?


Haust Wrote: I have a story in mind that I'd like to name 'Storm and Cauldron'. 

But 'Storm Cauldron' is a trademarked MTG card. Is the title too close to the trademarked material? It has nothing to do with MTG besides a common genre in fantasy.

Some things to consider.

Personally, Storm and Cauldron in association to a web novel is a very different thing from the trading card, if you looked into the trademark on it, it likely would associate those two terms directly towards that specific medium, and even with specification towards the artwork enlisted.

I think you have a wide degree of room in which to move. Even then things in conjunction to writing I think are often given even more leeway than trademarks being enforced by million-dollar tech corporations.

This lists several books that have shared names, and you can dig in but the article doesn't mention any examples of lawsuits between publishers playing out. If trad publishers aren't suing for names, then I'd imagine you would likely be very safe with a:

1) Differently named property from the source with an 'and' in the middle.
2) Completely different creative project that is fiction.
3) Not referencing the close name in any shape way or form in the work

Re: Is this too close to a copyright issue?

Like Zach says. Storm and cauldron are both common language. even putting them together, if not specifically in the context of MtG or other, similar card game, would not be a trademark infringement.

In fact, I am not even sure if they can legally trademark every card in their game at all.
If I created an object called a 'storm cauldron' for my own magical card game, as long as it was not described nearly the same, or have reasonably similar effects, if they DID trademark it it still couldn't get hit.

In the last 25 years, court opinion has pulled very firmly against manufacturers trying to pretend that every name in their property is trademarked unless they are VERY unique, and in general, only the primary work is trademarked. If MtG tried to shut down my book because the action sequences took place in a Caldera called 'Storm cauldron', it would never even be seen by a judge. Their own lawyers would warn them that it's a ridiculously frivolous lawsuit.

Re: Is this too close to a copyright issue?

I’ll add this to what I said earlier:
Except from article about cockygate
Trademarks, explained
So with all that said, here’s the central question: Can just anyone go around trademarking common dictionary words?
“It depends,” Mark McKenna tells me. McKenna is a law professor at Notre Dame who specializes in intellectual property law. 
“It’s not necessarily a problem to claim trademark rights on a common word,” he explains. “The way trademark law works is you only acquire rights in relation to certain goods and services. For instance, “apple” is a common word, but Apple has it trademarked in relation to computers. It would be a lot different if they were trying to claim rights to the word ‘apple’ for fruits.”
Hopkins’s trademark gives her rights to the word “cocky” in relation to a series of romance novels, and that, McKenna says, is sort of a gray area. “Trademark law is not supposed to let you claim rights on a title because trademark indicates a source of goods. If you buy a pair of shoes with the Nike logo on them, that tells you that they’re coming from the Nike brand, which tells you about how the shoe is made and under what conditions,” he says. “A single work of authorship isn’t produced in ways such that you need information about the physical characteristics of the book, like the way it’s bound or anything like that. The title is telling you about the content, and we usually think of things related to the contents as being copyright’s domain.”
Broadly speaking, copyright is designed to protect creative and intellectual property, like the contents of a book, although a book’s title cannot be copyrighted. Trademark, meanwhile, is designed to protect a brand, so that consumers don’t confuse one similar-looking product with another. You don’t trademark a book series title unless you can prove that the title is part of your specific brand.
That said, book series titles do get trademarked. McKenna points to the Magic School Bus books, which have a trademarked title. “But even those claims are a little questionable,” he says, “because it’s telling you about authorship and not the production of the physical good.”