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BLiTZWiNG

Naming my game

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I've finally come up with a name for my game that I'm happy with. A quick google search does not identify any games with the name, however there is a band and a software company here in Australia with the name, a novel on Amazon with the name as it's title (fiction from what I can tell) and a cyber security company in the US. As far as I can tell none are using a TM or R symbol. My immediate plans for the name would be on xbox live indie games (XNA) and PC in the same regions (either / or, I'm not sure yet). I should mention that I read a few other threads in this forum regarding names but I'm not really certain they fit my situation, same goes for the trademark wikipedia entry. Would I be violating the rights of these other entities to the name if I chose to go ahead with the name?

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Original post by BLiTZWiNG
1. A quick google search does not identify any games with the name, however there is a band and a software company here in Australia with the name, a novel on Amazon with the name as it's title (fiction from what I can tell) and a cyber security company in the US.
2. As far as I can tell none are using a TM or R symbol.

1. A band, a software company, a novel, and a service company. Wow. (Novels are always fiction, by the way.) The novel might be the toughest one for your purposes. But any of those entities might sue you for naming your game the same as their companies, organizations, or products.
2. Were you trying to make a point with that sentence? Because it doesn't mean a damn thing whether or not they use a symbol.

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Original post by Tom Sloper
2. Were you trying to make a point with that sentence? Because it doesn't mean a damn thing whether or not they use a symbol.
Well if someone puts a (tm) next to a mark, you know they're trying to assert their ownership over it, and if they put an (r) next to it, you know they've registered it.
Not seeing those symbols doesn't mean you are safe, but seeing those symbols does mean that you're not safe ;)

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Original post by Tom Sloper
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Original post by BLiTZWiNG
1. A quick google search does not identify any games with the name, however there is a band and a software company here in Australia with the name, a novel on Amazon with the name as it's title (fiction from what I can tell) and a cyber security company in the US.
2. As far as I can tell none are using a TM or R symbol.

1. A band, a software company, a novel, and a service company. Wow. (Novels are always fiction, by the way.) The novel might be the toughest one for your purposes. But any of those entities might sue you for naming your game the same as their companies, organizations, or products.
2. Were you trying to make a point with that sentence? Because it doesn't mean a damn thing whether or not they use a symbol.


Thanks for your time Tom.

Yes I was trying to make a point, my apologies. I am unsure as to whether the use of a name is protected regardless of the type of entity being named. For example, if I designed a new range of motor boats and decided to call than range the "Microsoft" series, am I infringing Microsoft the software company's trademark of that name even though the latter does not make water craft of any kind?

Edit: I think I'm also trying to work out if they themselves are protected given that none of them use the TM and R marks and there are already around five usages of the name in different fields, and whether that fact nullifies in any way a claim made by any one of them against any other.

I figured the novel might be a problem, especially given that the novel and my game are both military spec ops in nature, though the book is set in the Gulf War, and my game is set in space in a fictional universe, but I realise that is fairly irrelevant, and if not, works against me anyway.

I am not against changing the name of my game, I'm merely exploring where the boundaries of naming rights are. I don't want to upset anyone or give anyone any reason to sue me.

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As far as I can tell none are using a TM or R symbol.
They automatically get protection by virtue of using the mark in trade. Adding a trademark symbol or registered trademark symbol is not obligatory, and the symbols only have significance in a few countries.



Quote:
I'm merely exploring where the boundaries of naming rights are. I don't want to upset anyone or give anyone any reason to sue me.



Congratulations!



You are at the point in your gamedev career that you really need to consult with an attorney. At the very least, hire one with business and trademark experience. Ideally it would be somebody with industry experience. It isn't expensive, and you can get actual legal advice.

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Original post by frob
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As far as I can tell none are using a TM or R symbol.
They automatically get protection by virtue of using the mark in trade. Adding a trademark symbol or registered trademark symbol is not obligatory, and the symbols only have significance in a few countries.



Quote:
I'm merely exploring where the boundaries of naming rights are. I don't want to upset anyone or give anyone any reason to sue me.



Congratulations!



You are at the point in your gamedev career that you really need to consult with an attorney. At the very least, hire one with business and trademark experience. Ideally it would be somebody with industry experience. It isn't expensive, and you can get actual legal advice.


Thanks frob!

I don't think I'm actually anywhere near that point though really. My game is barely playable at this stage with very few game assets (none finalised) at this stage. I'm just thinking long term. I realise I will need to speak to a lawyer at some stage, I'm just trying to do some research first. If I decide that the name of my game is critical to its success then I will venture forth and find a lawyer and get things organised. As it is, this is a hobby project for which I one day plan to a) finish and b) release. Neither of those things may happen!


Does the fact that multiple companies / organisations are using the make dilute the value of their respective trade marks?

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Original post by BLiTZWiNG
Does the fact that multiple companies / organisations are using the make dilute the value of their respective trade marks?

You can use that argument in court when one of them sues you and you're acting as your own attorney.

Or you can change the name of your game, and when your game is farther along, hire an attorney.

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Original post by BLiTZWiNG
Does the fact that multiple companies / organisations are using the make dilute the value of their respective trade marks?
Most business decisions, including this, are about risk management.

What is the risk that they will sue? Will the companies treat them as different industries, or will they send out attack lawyers similar to the "Edge" cases?

What is the risk that a court will agree? Does your lawyer say it is trivial to defend, or hard to defend? What is the risk that the defense you mentioned would hold up in court?

What is the risk that that name (or a different name) will impact the game? Is that the penultimate title which absolutely must be used, or can you come up with something else?



Those are questions for a good business attorney. Well, all but the last two, which are for marketers and planners.

The safest answer is to create a completely unique name, which is why we keep saying that.

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Ok, point taken. I will keep thinking up new names until it appears that it is not being used, then hire an attorney when the time gets nearer.

Thanks for your feedback.

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Actually, I have one more question on this:

If you use your company / real name as part of the title, ie. Sid Meier's Civilization, is that considered part of the title?

If so, if a new game came out called Sid Meier's Mass Effect, do EA have a case against them in your opinion? I'm not planning to do this, but I'm interested to know, it may also be possible for me to add another word to the title to make it sufficiently different (ie. not just "of" or "to" or "and", but another "content" word).

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