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Name Similarity and Trademark Coverage


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#1 Unduli   Members   -  Reputation: 1266

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 05:42 AM

Hello there,

 

  I just wondered if it may be a problem in case I pick a "similar" name but not in fashion of "Call of Duuty". More like similar to name of series, something like for example "SimPlanet" which may remind Sim Series from Maxis. Can I use it if they have no trademark?

 

 Considering even Google had problems with GMail, ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gmail#Trademark_disputes )

 

  Is it "even" wiser than usual to trademark anyway to avoid any problem. In case of having trademark, does it have to be US one to avoid Maxis?

 

  Also does applying first at any country give you any advantage? Or just have to apply asap in all countries to protect it? (I read some about Madrid Protocol but still not sure)

 

 



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#2 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10672

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 07:33 AM

1. I just wondered if it may be a problem in case I pick a "similar" name but not in fashion of "Call of Duuty". More like similar to name of series, something like for example "SimPlanet" which may remind Sim Series from Maxis.
2. Can I use it if they have no trademark?
3. Is it ... wiser... to trademark anyway to avoid any problem.
4. In case of having trademark, does it have to be US one
5. to avoid Maxis?
6. Also does applying first at any country give you any advantage?
7. Or just have to apply asap in all countries to protect it? (I read some about Madrid Protocol but still not sure)


1. Yes. It may be a problem.
2. No. If someone is using a title, that is their trademark, whether or not they've registered it, and you should stay away from it.
3. Yes. Because the title search is part of that process.
4. No. You can file a trademark in your own country (I assume your country is a signatory to the Berne Convention).
5. What? This would be easier instead of specific company names you just referred to "trademark owner."
6. I don't know. Ask a lawyer.
7. I never heard of the Madrid Protocol. Look up the Berne Convention.

Edited by Tom Sloper, 15 December 2013 - 02:23 PM.
I goofed

-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
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#3 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 25480

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 01:42 PM

Um, Geneva Convention was about wartime humanitarian issues. You probably meant Berne Convention, which dealt with copyright.

The Madrid Protocol is a treaty similar to the Berne Convention, the treaty was formed a few years later than the Berne treaty.

Both are over a century old, are signed by most major nations, were followed by other conventions and treaties, and are the basis for more modern laws globally. Today it is WIPO that updates those agreements.

Check out my book, Game Development with Unity, aimed at beginners who want to build fun games fast.

Also check out my personal website at bryanwagstaff.com, where I write about assorted stuff.


#4 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10672

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 02:21 PM

Um, Geneva Convention was about wartime humanitarian issues. You probably meant Berne Convention, which dealt with copyright.


Doh! Yeah, Berne is what I meant to say. I'm going to edit my post.

Edited by Tom Sloper, 15 December 2013 - 03:32 PM.

-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#5 Unduli   Members   -  Reputation: 1266

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 05:39 AM

 

1. I just wondered if it may be a problem in case I pick a "similar" name but not in fashion of "Call of Duuty". More like similar to name of series, something like for example "SimPlanet" which may remind Sim Series from Maxis.
2. Can I use it if they have no trademark?
3. Is it ... wiser... to trademark anyway to avoid any problem.
4. In case of having trademark, does it have to be US one
5. to avoid Maxis?
6. Also does applying first at any country give you any advantage?
7. Or just have to apply asap in all countries to protect it? (I read some about Madrid Protocol but still not sure)


1. Yes. It may be a problem.
2. No. If someone is using a title, that is their trademark, whether or not they've registered it, and you should stay away from it.
3. Yes. Because the title search is part of that process.
4. No. You can file a trademark in your own country (I assume your country is a signatory to the Berne Convention).
5. What? This would be easier instead of specific company names you just referred to "trademark owner."
6. I don't know. Ask a lawyer.
7. I never heard of the Madrid Protocol. Look up the Berne Convention.

 

 

First, thanks for reply.

 

1,2,3,4,6,7 - Actually my case was for a name they didn't use before, ( Sim923847ekasjhdasjhdkj for sake of simplicity ) but seems "using" first gives you an advantage. So what I intend is using this name then apply for registering trademark.

 

5 - Maxis was just example, I held no grudge against them :)

 

Btw, another question arises, what should I understand of "using" in a game? Having a website?



#6 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10672

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 10:49 AM


what should I understand of "using" in a game? Having a website?

 

Please restate the question using different words (and more words).  It's not clear what you are asking.


-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#7 Unduli   Members   -  Reputation: 1266

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 01:32 PM

 


what should I understand of "using" in a game? Having a website?

 

Please restate the question using different words (and more words).  It's not clear what you are asking.

 

 

Oh, my bad.

 

 


2. No. If someone is using a title, that is their trademark, whether or not they've registered it, and you should stay away from it.

 

I mean what makes someone using a title, writing somewhere once? having domain? an official paper?

 

or are these all subjective?



#8 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10672

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 01:58 PM


I mean what makes someone using a title, writing somewhere once? having domain? an official paper?

 

I thought you were asking about game titles. Game titles and company names (and yes, website domains) are protected by trademark. That's what we're talking about, is it not?

 

Somebody using words in an article is a matter of copyright, not trademark. You don't have to concern yourself about somebody who used words in an article.

 

If somebody names a pastry the same thing you name your company, the public will not be confused that maybe your company (a game company) created that pastry, or that that pastry maker now also makes games.  So there is not likely to be a problem between pastries and games.


Edited by Tom Sloper, 16 December 2013 - 02:01 PM.

-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#9 Unduli   Members   -  Reputation: 1266

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 12:27 PM

 


I mean what makes someone using a title, writing somewhere once? having domain? an official paper?

 

I thought you were asking about game titles. Game titles and company names (and yes, website domains) are protected by trademark. That's what we're talking about, is it not?

 

Somebody using words in an article is a matter of copyright, not trademark. You don't have to concern yourself about somebody who used words in an article.

 

If somebody names a pastry the same thing you name your company, the public will not be confused that maybe your company (a game company) created that pastry, or that that pastry maker now also makes games.  So there is not likely to be a problem between pastries and games.

 

 

I give up :)

 

I also checked local law sources here (in Turkey) , seems domain registration and marketing activities are considered enough for most cases.

 

Thanks again



#10 LorenzoGatti   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2866

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 02:58 AM

I also checked local law sources here (in Turkey) , seems domain registration and marketing activities are considered enough for most cases.

Possibly enough as evidence that you are using a mark, but owning and protecting it is something else.

Maybe Turkey does something peculiar, but the usual pattern of trademark laws is that if A starts using a name, logo etc. and later some troll B applies to register it as a trademark, B might succeed (no conflicting trademark is registered, and A's prior use can be ignored or considered unimportant) and force A to pay and/or cease & desist even if A came first.

That's why trademarks are usually registered far before actual usage (so that A owns the mark and B has no possibility of squatting).
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#11 Unduli   Members   -  Reputation: 1266

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 10:07 PM

 

I also checked local law sources here (in Turkey) , seems domain registration and marketing activities are considered enough for most cases.

Possibly enough as evidence that you are using a mark, but owning and protecting it is something else.

Maybe Turkey does something peculiar, but the usual pattern of trademark laws is that if A starts using a name, logo etc. and later some troll B applies to register it as a trademark, B might succeed (no conflicting trademark is registered, and A's prior use can be ignored or considered unimportant) and force A to pay and/or cease & desist even if A came first.

That's why trademarks are usually registered far before actual usage (so that A owns the mark and B has no possibility of squatting).

 

 

Well, I didn't decide to use SimX name yet as it involves buying the domain, but if I do I'll not just rely on using first but will register it too.






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