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Domain name I've been using for years trademarked by a popular large company

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I've been working on my indie RPG project for a few years with the ultimate goal of monetization and it looks like I could be ready for launch by the end of the year. My excitement has been through the roof lately. Unfortunately, I've just now checked and it appears a certain large social game development company has trademarked the name of my project (however, mine is plural and theirs is singular) last year. Considering how both of our projects are definitely "computer video game software", I don't think getting a trademark of my own of the pluralization would work. I'm a bit afraid to release my project as well - they could probably sue me even though I've had the domain name for years! What's the best plan here - find a new name & domain ( :( ) while of course still keeping this one just in case or try and get a trademark?

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What does your lawyer say? If you're going in to business -- especially given you've already identified a probable legal issue -- you should speak to a lawyer.

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What does your lawyer say? If you're going in to business -- especially given you've already identified a probable legal issue -- you should speak to a lawyer.


That seems unavoidable, huh? I definitely don't have the money for that just yet.

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People can always sue you, no matter whether they're right or wrong.

If it's just a (tm) on the end of the name, you don't have to "get a trademark" - you just whack the (tm) there which is publicly stating "I'm trading a product using this mark". You don't even need the (tm) there for it to be a trademark, that symbol just makes your statement more explicit.

If you've been operating under that name for longer than this other company, then when they sue you, you may be able to win the case... but no one really wants to fight that battle.
You could also just go about your business until they send you legal threats, at which point you could rename your game to "F**** YOU ZYNGA : THE GAME"...

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[quote name='jbadams' timestamp='1306642925' post='4816986']
What does your lawyer say? If you're going in to business -- especially given you've already identified a probable legal issue -- you should speak to a lawyer.

That seems unavoidable, huh? I definitely don't have the money for that just yet.
[/quote]
Sounds to me like you're not ready to go into business yet, then. But while you save up your money, you can start thinking about a new name for your game.

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[...]
You could also just go about your business until they send you legal threats, at which point you could rename your game to "F**** YOU ZYNGA : THE GAME"...


I'd totally play that game! tongue.gif

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I've been working on my indie RPG project for a few years with the ultimate goal of monetization and it looks like I could be ready for launch by the end of the year. My excitement has been through the roof lately. Unfortunately, I've just now checked and it appears a certain large social game development company has trademarked the name of my project (however, mine is plural and theirs is singular) last year. Considering how both of our projects are definitely "computer video game software", I don't think getting a trademark of my own of the pluralization would work. I'm a bit afraid to release my project as well - they could probably sue me even though I've had the domain name for years! What's the best plan here - find a new name & domain ( :( ) while of course still keeping this one just in case or try and get a trademark?


Curious, why didn't you register it? Lack of time? Money? The registration lady was being mean? I mean, taking on development for years without any registration seems a pretty stupid move - I don't know? The costs aren't all that great in the scheme of even an indie game and last I checked it only takes a few hours of filling out forms and whatever else you might need to send back and forth and voila - you're done.


Personally, I'd swallow this as a "lesson learned" and move on to another name. Hardly worth launching the game only to get cease 'n' desist letter the day after over the name of all things...
Anyhow, good luck with whatever you choose to do! :)

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Down here in Aussie land, names distinguished only by a plural will be rejected with almost certainty, especially if its the same type of business. I'd imagine the same applies abroad, particularly in lawsuit happy countries. So yea, talk your lawyer, or get a new name.

If you can't secure the original name, get the other business to make you an offer for the domain name. Who knows, they might be tempted to pay you good money for it, and in the meantime you can just move on.

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Curious, why didn't you register it? Lack of time? Money? The registration lady was being mean? I mean, taking on development for years without any registration seems a pretty stupid move - I don't know?
None of the companies I've worked for have ever registered their trademarks AFAIK. You can see how common this is by the abundance of ™ symbols around, which indicate an unregistered trade mark.

In fact, one company I worked for changed their practices while I was there to almost never even use the ™ symbol, in order to make it ambiguous which names/logos we would be willing to start lawsuits over.

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Curious, why didn't you register it? Lack of time? Money? The registration lady was being mean? I mean, taking on development for years without any registration seems a pretty stupid move - I don't know? The costs aren't all that great in the scheme of even an indie game and last I checked it only takes a few hours of filling out forms and whatever else you might need to send back and forth and voila - you're done.


Personally, I'd swallow this as a "lesson learned" and move on to another name. Hardly worth launching the game only to get cease 'n' desist letter the day after over the name of all things...
Anyhow, good luck with whatever you choose to do! :)

Yes, lack of money more or less. I never considered it a big priority seeing as how I've hardly advertised it just yet - guess this certainly is a lesson learned! I think that Terraria only registered their trademark less than a month ago and nobody grabbed up their name, so I guess I really just got the short end of the stick.


Down here in Aussie land, names distinguished only by a plural will be rejected with almost certainty, especially if its the same type of business. I'd imagine the same applies abroad, particularly in lawsuit happy countries. So yea, talk your lawyer, or get a new name.

If you can't secure the original name, get the other business to make you an offer for the domain name. Who knows, they might be tempted to pay you good money for it, and in the meantime you can just move on.


That would be fantastic too and would certainly help with the new trademark costs :D


People can always sue you, no matter whether they're right or wrong.

If it's just a ™ on the end of the name, you don't have to "get a trademark" - you just whack the ™ there which is publicly stating "I'm trading a product using this mark". You don't even need the ™ there for it to be a trademark, that symbol just makes your statement more explicit.

If you've been operating under that name for longer than this other company, then when they sue you, you may be able to win the case... but no one really wants to fight that battle.
You could also just go about your business until they send you legal threats, at which point you could rename your game to "F**** YOU ZYNGA : THE GAME"...


I have been operating under it for much longer, which makes it all the more painful. I guess I'd really like to avoid getting f***ed by this large social game ( :rolleyes: ) company, so I probably will maintain it as a "backup blog" of sorts and adopt a new name and maybe the old domain will help me in the long run.

Thanks a lot for the replies guys.

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