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Legal and Copyright issues of a Name/Object.

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Posted (edited)

I'm working on a card game and with the way that it plays I wanted to give it a certain name. When I told my brother this and he reminded me that what I wanted to name it is a very prominent object in another game. Would be it copyright infringement if I were to create a card game with the same name as something in another game even though it has no relation to the series at all? Also TCG would be part of the name.

Edited by OhTeeDubb

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The name of that "very prominent object" might be considered proprietary by the owner of that other game. If
it's a unique name (one not seen anywhere but in that other game; one associated only with that "very prominent
object") then you probably shouldn't use it.

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I think the biggest concern is the "likelihood of confusion" issue, which would be the trigger for any potential lawsuit or claim. Using the name of a very prominent object from another game may give players the impression that the creator of the game in which the very prominent object exists is the creator of your game-- or it may imply that your game is a licensed spin-off of their product, which I'm assuming it is not.

It's worth noting that even if they don't have a registered TM in the "very prominent object's" name, their rights would still be protected under common law unfair competition protections and state law. 

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I wanted to call my card game TriForce. I looked it up and Nintendo has the logo trademarked, but I'm not sure if they have the name copyrighted. Is it possible to cause confusion when the cards (images and everything else they entail) have nothing to do with the Zelda series?

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"TriForce" will get you in trouble in a heartbeat.  Nintendo is very aggressive about protecting their IP.  

Regardless of if they have the specific term trademarked (not copyright as you keep writing) the term is strongly associated with the brand and with several products (e.g. TriForce Heroes) and using the term in nearly every LoZ game they produce. They could easily sue for many different causes.

 

Think of another name.  It is a creative industry, be creative.

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Posted (edited)

there's no such thing as a copyright in a name. The trademark is sufficient. It has a great big "DO NOT TOUCH" sign on it, so I would avoid it like the plague. I can attest (from experience as counsel) that, as frob mentioned, Nintendo is extremely aggressive about protecting their IP, and have gone after others for far, far less.

Edited by monalaw

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