Q. Say you have a coffee shop as a focal point in a script. Should you worry about choosing a name for the shop that is completely original? For example, could I use a place called "Capital Coffee," clearly set in Ottawa, if there happens to be a real place called Capital Coffee in Washington?
For that matter, can you set a scene inside a well-known store or restaurant chain without the permission of the company?
This is not an issue in a selling script. You can name real people and places and put real products in their hands, because you're only showing the script to a few people. (Say, at most, a hundred.)
When you get to production, there's a process you'll follow to take care of potential conflicts. The script will go out to lawyers who'll do a "clearance report." If there's only one "Capitol Coffee" in the world and you've got one in your script, you may have to change the name. On the other hand, it may not matter so long as you're in a different city. And it won't matter if there are several dozen Capitol Coffees throughout North America. Similarly, you couldn't put a character named Isaac Asimov in a script, at least not during his life; but you can always put a Lauren Ginsburg in the script (assuming you want a 40-year-old New Yorker), because there are so many of them, you're not held to be saying anything about one of them in particular.