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JeffL

New game has very similar logo to ours

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Hi guys.  There's a new game coming out sometime in the future with an apparently huge crowd funding effort, Star Citizen, and it's sporting a logo that seems very similar to that of our game, Star Sonata / Star Sonata 2.  Both games are space games, both are MMO's, both have "Star" as the first word, and both have a 4 point starburst inside a circle with the tips sticking out.  The difference in the logos is their starburst is skinnier, and they have multiple circles and some laurels.

 

We've been using our logo for almost 10 years now, and while not wildly successful, we've had somewhere in the neighborhood of 80,000 accounts played over the years.  With all the publicity and fundraising that this new game is getting, I'd hate for them to come along later with expensive lawyers and threaten to sue us.  Or possibly also bad would be if people thought that we were copying them.    Does anyone have advice or an opinion on if the similar logo is something to be worried about?

 

Thanks.

 

(Logos are visible on each of the above links.)

 

 

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Maybe just get in contact with them in a friendly / non legally intimidating way, let them know that you exist and that youve been using a very similar trademark in advance, and to please not try and sue you over it later ;)

I'm not a lawyer, but from my understanding of IP law, you've been trading a product using that logo, therefore it is a trademark, and it's your property.
For as long as you keep trading using that logo, a new competitor can't muscle in and take it. You, however, do have the option of attacking any competitor who decides to trade a similar product with a similar logo. I.e. if push came to shove, star citizen would be on the back foot, so it's worth their while for the two of you to just agree that the two logos are different enough to not be infringing.

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Hey, I would think you should be alright, though they both use the starburst the rest of the logo is so different they aren't exactly mistakable for one another.

 

Just my 2 cents, but hey the community and devs there are a really great and happy to answer questions and communicate, (you dont even need to have pledged) and if you really are worried about it either get in contact with them or have a chat to a lawyer as people have said and get input from them

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Look, I really don't think you have anything to worry about.  When it comes down to it, Chris Roberts is probably the first person to use that style of emblem in a game.  Specifically in his Wing Commander games, as it was the emblem that represented the terran confederation.  Which was released in 1992 and the first game I personally saw the below emblem in those games was in Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger.  Which was released in 1994.  Coincidentally Chris Roberts is the same guy making Star Citizen.

 

Link to emblem: http://www.wcnews.com/newershots/full/morone7.jpg

 

And was featured prominently on the cover title for Wing Commander Prophecy: http://www.wcnews.com/newestshots/full/WCP.png

 

Copyright and IP for Wing Commander are owned by Electronic Arts.

 

But he was by no means the only nor last to use that or similar emblem as evidenced by yourself.  Another game that I can think of just off the top of my head that used a similar emblem, and by coincidence, is far and away closer to your emblem (literally) is Pax Imperia: Eminent Domain which was released back in 1997.

 

Link to cover (emblem is in the middle embossed in gold... Emblem is also used as the game's executable icon image minus the outer solar rings) http://cs307511.vk.me/v307511577/8a76/7-4CUqdhJtE.jpg

 

Pax Imperia: Eminent Domain was developed by Heliotrope and published by THQ.

 

And these are just the examples I can think of off the top of my head.  The thing is, that emblem has been used, modified, rehashed and recycled so many times, by so many people, over so many years, I doubt anyone could claim original ownership of it.  Even if Roberts tried to claim original creation of it, EA could just claim ownership of it when they bought over Origin Systems and subsequently the Wing Commander IP.  And then there would probably be someone else I even don't know about who could do the same citing even earlier examples, and so on.  To be quite frank, I highly doubt you have anything to worry about.  They most likely can't claim original ownership of that emblem, and neither could you really.  It's just not a really original design.  Hell if you really wanted to get to apples to oranges, the only one that could really complain about your emblem are the makers of Pax Imperia: Eminent Domain as theirs is almost a carbon copy of yours.  But Heliotope went belly up years ago, and THQ (if you've kept up on the news) was liquidated over the last year and all of their IP's were auctioned off to lord knows who all.  Aside from Homeworld which I know was sold to Gearbox Interactive.  So again, I would say I don't think you have anything to worry about.

Edited by bignick277

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