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Using pictures of products

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Hi, I'm developing a game and I want to virtually sell in the game supplements that are a real product (for instance, "Béres Vitamin C 50 mg"). If I'm going to take the Vitamin C for example, I would like to list it in my game store with these details: Product Name: Béres Vitamin C 50 mg Price: $100 Details: Contributes to covering the recommended daily vitamin C intake for adults. Image: [img src="http://www.beres.hu/gfx/c-vitaminok/c-vitamin_50mg_tabletta.png"] (I took it from here -> http://www.beres.hu/en/termekek/c-vitamin_50mg_tabletta/) Am I allowed to do that? What is the difference between this and using a Ferrari car in my game? How do you suggest to overcome any legal issue if there are some?

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Take a look at all the cases surrounding Second Life, there's been a lot of issues with players creating things like Coca Cola cans and selling them in game.

It differs that Second Life allows the PLAYERS to create and sell the content and not the developers, but I'm sure reading up would give you some insight.

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For a game I see no reason why you can't 'sell' vitamin C but under a brand you make up such as ByronMans Vitamin C Supplement. Only if you use a specific brand will ya get pulled on it. Hence why a lot of games have ferrari look-a-likes but no brand anywhere in the games space.

If you are wanting to use the beres image just remove any of the branding in paint or photoshop if you have it.

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The reason is because of the pictures, I tought about sparing some bucks and using existing products. I'm sure those companies wouldn't mind, but I don't have time to deal with them anyways...

So I just think I'll remove the pictures and that's it.

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I'm going to treat this as if you have no idea what a trademark is. That being said, please check out the PTO website to learn more about what a trademark is.

In this case, the trademark is the name, Béres Vitamin C. Any time you use the name of a product in your game or other media product, you require a license from the owner of that trademark. Why? Companies don't like it when people use their mark without permission or their knowledge. This is because in trademark especially, it is very important to enforce your mark or you risk losing it.

As a result, companies like Béres hire at least a few people, mostly lawyers, JDs and paralegals, to scout the internet, movies, television, magazines, and other media products to see when and how their mark is being used. If they find that their mark is being used without permission or in a manner they take issue with for whatever reason (for instance, they don't want their product associated with your game), they may bring a cause of action against you claiming trademark disparagement, unfair competition, and trademark dilution.

This is why Tom suggests that you tread carefully and not assume that they don't mind. You're better off coming up with your own brand name for the imaginary product or simply using a generic "vitamin C".

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Thanks for the replies.

I do know what a trademark is and by listing a product of a certain company I don't misuse a trademark since I didn't used the name for another product or to promote other things.

I also think that electronic stores that really sell those products don't have any permission from the manufacturers themselves, this is for sure, hence I'm asking what specific rules I pass if I'll do so?

Thanks for your suggestions.

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Quote:
Original post by ByronMan
Thanks for the replies.

I do know what a trademark is and by listing a product of a certain company I don't misuse a trademark since I didn't used the name for another product or to promote other things.

I also think that electronic stores that really sell those products don't have any permission from the manufacturers themselves, this is for sure, hence I'm asking what specific rules I pass if I'll do so?

Thanks for your suggestions.



1) I'm afraid you are mistaken. You don't need to commit counterfeit or fraud to engage in trademark infringement or unfair competition. Dilution and disparagement do not require that you use the mark to identify a separate product. You need only use the mark/product in a manner the company doesn't like, or feels damages the integrity of the product/trademark in some way.

Example: Game developer is making an ultra-violent video game. Pharmaceutical Co. manufactures a variety of products that it markets to a wide demographic, including families, medical professionals, and hospitals. Game developer wants to use Pharmaceutical Co.'s product "Life Save" as a health kit in its game. Because Pharmaceutical Co. markets to families, medical professionals, and hospitals, it would not want its company product or trademark used in the game. Game Developer uses it anyway. Pharmaceutical Co. could then bring a Trademark Disparagement/Dilution claim, along with an unfair competition claim, on the basis that use of the mark in the game tarnishes the mark's value to the company's primary demographic.

Even if Pharmaceutical Co. doesn't win on the merits of the suit, Game Developer must spend literally hundreds of thousands of dollars defending himself in the suit.

2) Electronic stores that sell those products typically enter into distribution agreements with those companies. Those distribution agreements include a right to use the company's trademark. There are various unfair competition causes of action based on unlawful import, export, and sale of goods that use a trademark in marketing without the authority of the trademark owner.

I wasn't trying to be condescending, but I believe you have a very inaccurate perception of what constitutes trademark infringement.

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