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Josh Foreman

Getting Tradmarks

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Josh Foreman    108

Hi everyone.  I hate business.  But I'm also a careful person, so when the opportunity came up to start making some casual games I decided I better start educating myself.  I bought Tom Buscaglia's game dev kit.  He's a really cool guy who obviously cares about game developers.  But I would have to spend more money to really dig down into all these issues I don't understand yet.  So I'm hoping the collective knowledge base here can help me out.  Here's my background:

* I'm a 17 year game industry vet.  I do every kind of art and design.  I've got a boatload of game ideas for small projects I want to do on the side.


* I live in Seattle, US


* I've got a best friend (also and artist, but understands technical pipeline stuff better than I) who works with me, and he has a brother-in-law who's a programmer.  They both want to make little games as well, but neither of them have strong design skills so the past projects they've tried together petered out.  Now they are both happy to help me make some of my game ideas for a flat fee I'd pay them for services rendered, keeping the IP all to myself.


* I own my own business that I've been doing traditional sculpture with, but I always planned to branch into games at some point.



Ok, I think that's enough background.  My question is about how important trademarks are for my needs.  Looking into the whole international search and then filing in all the various locations looks like it could cost me tens of thousands of dollars.  Well, that's the dream-killer right there.  I have about 2 thousand I can put into this project.  And I'm already using that to pay my friends for their work.

So for those of you who have made little iOS, Steam, Android, XBL, etc. games: what have you done for Trademarks?  I'm assuming it's only a problem if your game becomes very successful, right?  Though on the other side of it, I imagine it's a protection from accidentally using someone else's TM and getting sued, right?  


It seems to me that one somewhat risky strategy is to wait, and in the very unlikely chance that my game is a hit and makes some money, take the first income I get and do my TMing.  Is that insane?  

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Tom B    146

If you want to learn about the TM process, has all the info you might want. It's also where you can register a TM online.

As far as whether and what to TM, the name of your game is something you should do. And you should begin the process well in advance of release. You car start the registration process in advance and secure the name, then complete the registration when you release it. The way you can avoid problems with infringements, both with and from others. The process takes at least 6 months. So, settle on the name, make sure there are no other games already using it and get the registration started. It's not too hard to do yourself, but can be a little confusing.

The GameDevKit includes a section on IP, including info on Trademarks. And, you get a free consult and a nice discount with the GameDevKit. Ping me next week and I'll give you a more detailed explanation, if you like. Or take the time to come out to Vashon and we can do lunch!

Tom Buscaglia
The Game Attorney
Skype - thombusc

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