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Is the word "Caylus" off limits?

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BenMora
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Short version:
Would it be wrong to use the word "Caylus" in the title of a game when there is already a game called "Caylus"?

Longer version:

I am making a game that is inspired a lot by the game Caylus, in that it is a Euro-style game, has a similar feel to it, and is about the castle in Caylus, (In real life there is a castle, which is what the game Caylus is about) HOWEVER there is absolutely ZERO overlap in mechanics and rules. The connection between my game and "Caylus" is purely thematic; my game would stand on it's own and be a completely different experience from Caylus...
My game is actually a board game about laying siege to a castle. Being that I love the game Caylus, I thought it fun to think of it as if in my game I am now attacking the very castle I helped to build in the game Caylus. Some of my friends seem to think there should be no problem with using the word "Caylus" in my title, eg, "Siege of Caylus" or "Battle of Caylus" or something along those lines. I am inclined to dismiss this idea as I think it's kinda just asking for trouble, but I want to ask around to see what you all think. Would this be illegal in some way? Even if NOT illegal, would this still be too low or inappropriate or otherwise unprofessional?

Thanks!
-Ben

questccg
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I'm not a lawyer - either but...

I think you can SAFELY use the proper name "Caylus". It's a French Providence in FRANCE... So things like "Battle of Caylus" or other names which differentiate you from the game entitled "Caylus" is 100% OKAY.

The idea being that your goal is to differentiate yourself from the original game with another game title and preferably other game mechanics (as you said you have already done).

Ya mate - you're fine to use "Caylus" in the title (as I have outlined above)...

Note: personally I don't know why the "attachment" to the providence of "Caylus"... But that's a personal matter. You could name it "Battle of Alexandria" because of it's Great Library. Just because I think I would like a battle for the all the knowledge known to man (at that time...) Could be potent thematic stuff...

Note 2: if your thinking was accurate, I could have never used the TERM "Quest" in my first game. There is already another card game called "Quest Cards" (https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/19381/quest-cards). Moreover there is a company called "Quest Software". The key was differentiation of BRAND. My brand was "Quest Adventure Cards(tm)" (http://www.questccg.com). And so there is a difference in brand even if a game exists with a similar game title... Just a FYI (example).

Note 3: My "Trademark" is on "Adventure Cards" - That's the Brand differentiation and the game's trademark. Which means nobody else can use "Quest" with "Adventure Cards" as that is my trademark. Together, I think, it sounds better than "Quest Cards" and it differentiated from that game with the TM on "Adventure Cards".

Midnight_Carnival
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don't throw the baby out with the copyright!

Make a game which is fun to play and which people love, when/if you find out that it infringes on people's intelecutal property rights you can change the name. The popular kids computer game Plant's vs. Zombies was apparently previously called Lawn of the Dead, which I think was a brilliant name for it - not being able to use taht name didn't effect how popular it was though.

Make a great game and nobody will care what it's called. I'd be the last one to tell others how to approach their projects, but for me this should not be a primary concern of yours.

Also, in computer games I've noticed that when a group comes together to make an open-source computer game, if they start with the title and splash-screen, it's highly likely the game won't go any further.

Enjoy making and play-testing the game.

wombat929
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That said, infringement

That said, infringement lawsuits are expensive and when you build recognition for your game, it's worth having the same name for as long as you can. If the company that makes Caylus trademarked it, you may very well NOT be able to use it in connection with another board game. I would definitely investigate further.

radioactivemouse
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My thoughts

wombat929 wrote:
That said, infringement lawsuits are expensive and when you build recognition for your game, it's worth having the same name for as long as you can. If the company that makes Caylus trademarked it, you may very well NOT be able to use it in connection with another board game. I would definitely investigate further.

Copyright and infringement laws don't apply here for 2 reasons:

1) The use of Caylus is not similar to the other game named Caylus.
2) Game copyrights only protect the expression of the ideas, not the ideas themselves.

These sound similar, but need to be pointed out. The game I created is called "Conquest at Kismet", not to be confused with another game "Kismet", which is also on BGG, which is a completely different game. Can the guys at Kismet sue me or call copyright infringement? Absolutely not. The only thing we have in common is the use of one word, and that's not enough to hold in any court.

But there have been lawsuits. EA brought a lawsuit against Zynga about 4 years ago because their game The Ville was extremely similar to the EA's The Sims Social, which was released earlier. This is a legitimate claim. Eventually EA and Zynga settled out of court.

http://gamepolitics.com/2013/02/15/ea-and-zynga-settle-ville-sims-social...

The only way the makers of Caylus can sue is if they Trademarked the name (like Wombat said), which is stupid because 1) It's named after a real city and 2) trademarking a name is a far more complicated and expensive process anyways. Chances are the makers of Caylus did not trademark the name.

So with that said...

BenMora wrote:
Short version:
Would it be wrong to use the word "Caylus" in the title of a game when there is already a game called "Caylus"?

No. Use it however you want.

Zag24
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Ignore the legality for a

Ignore the legality for a second, and think about right and wrong.

You've acknowledged that your game was inspired by Caylus, so your use of the word does not have to do with the province in France, it has to do with the game. Presumably, if you were to sell your game with that name, you'd be hoping for some amount of benefit from the association. That is, you'd be hoping that the people who like Caylus will take a look at your game because of the name.

Therefore, you are hoping to capitalize on the other game's good reputation. You're using something of theirs, and you owe it to them (IMHO) to get their permission to do so. They might even give it, since if your game is successful, it would likely drive some number of people the other direction, to try theirs. But I doubt they will see it that way, because lawyers.

If your game is good enough to stand on its own, without the association, then it will do so. Another possibility would be to approach them not asking to use their name, but asking them if they would like to release the game themselves. You'd make less per box, but since they already have distribution channels to places their game is already popular, and they would be in a better position to get the attention you're hoping for by association, then you'd probably make more overall, due to selling more boxes.

radioactivemouse
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Actually...

Zag24 wrote:
Ignore the legality for a second, and think about right and wrong.

You've acknowledged that your game was inspired by Caylus, so your use of the word does not have to do with the province in France, it has to do with the game. Presumably, if you were to sell your game with that name, you'd be hoping for some amount of benefit from the association. That is, you'd be hoping that the people who like Caylus will take a look at your game because of the name.

Therefore, you are hoping to capitalize on the other game's good reputation. You're using something of theirs, and you owe it to them (IMHO) to get their permission to do so. They might even give it, since if your game is successful, it would likely drive some number of people the other direction, to try theirs. But I doubt they will see it that way, because lawyers.

If your game is good enough to stand on its own, without the association, then it will do so. Another possibility would be to approach them not asking to use their name, but asking them if they would like to release the game themselves. You'd make less per box, but since they already have distribution channels to places their game is already popular, and they would be in a better position to get the attention you're hoping for by association, then you'd probably make more overall, due to selling more boxes.

No offense, but everyone's interpretation of "right" and "wrong" differ from person to person. The law was put into place to resolve conflicts.

The association of the prior game to BemMora's game shouldn't require permission. If game designers use mechanics from other designers and call it their own and no one cares, a game that has only one word in common in the title shouldn't be an issue.

questccg
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Truth be told

The plain fact of the matter is that IF everyone Trademarked everything, there would be no more names except for names like "Crazy Monkey Jungle Gym" (and no that is a fictitious name - you can trademark if you like :P)

Take for example the game "Archon". You can't trademark it because it's too general of a term. So what did they do, they created the video game: "Archon: The Light and the Dark". That's the way around trademarks. Be more specific than the current use.

Anyways it's cool having subtitles to games. I think it adds some measure of thought. At least the authors came up with an interesting name...

And about permissions, IF you ASK, the other designer (or Publisher, etc.) will probably decline giving permission... Just because they feel like the game "might" infringe on their trademark (when it probably won't). It's like telling someone to not do something and then they go ahead and do it...

That's just my 2 cents.

Midnight_Carnival
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"you're fired!"

There, now I owe an American presidential candidate a lot of money!
"that's hot" - Oooh, now Paris Hilton can come and sue me!

Copyrights exist to prevent people from stealing a lot of hard work from someone else, they have recently been abused horribly by people who in my opinion are morally bankrupt (don't take that statement as indicative of my pollitical views please, I'm not even American) and want to make money by "owning" things others would like to use.

If I were to make a board game called "rugby", I could probalby get into a lot of trouble because it is a sport played with a ball and a lot of big scary guys who could crush my spine in 10 seconds flat. I also probably wouldn't because let's just say my game was about becoming the mayor of "Rugby Island" and trading pineapples, there are no balls and no contact anywhere in the game. I'm deliberately using a ridiculous example to illustrate my point here, but anyway... if you argue that the confusion created when someone asks "do you want to play a game of rugby?" is an attempt to sell the game played with dice in a way which harms the associations relating to the game played with a ball, then I think very few judges would really take your case very seriously.
The most I think they'd do is force you to change the name to "Rugby Island".

BenMora
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Ditching "Caylus"... Other ideas...

Zag24 wrote:
You've acknowledged that your game was inspired by Caylus, so your use of the word does not have to do with the province in France, it has to do with the game.

You have a point. I would totally agree that the choice of the word "Caylus" has more to do with the game than with the town.

You all have given me lots of good perspectives, and I think I am starting to want to steer away from that, not so much because I'm worried about doing the wrong thing, but because some of your comments are inspiring me more to making my game "stand on it's own" and to be it's own game.

I wonder if any of you would care to weigh in on my name ideas so far. I am brainstorming with a few related terms as a starting point. Some words that I've jot down that relate to my game for consideration in a title somehow are:
Arms
Siege
War
Garrison
Raid
Raze
Master
Castle
Chateau
Plunder
Bastion
Stronghold
Keep
Wages
Muster

I want something a little more specific and unique than the obvious "Castle Siege".

The idea I am thinking about most is "Wages of War"... One of the primary mechanics involves earning wages for the war effort. My only reservation is that this title does not explicitly or implicitly have to do with a "siege" which is the fundamental premise of the game. I am not sure the title should necessarily have the word "siege" in it though. I tend to think avoiding the most obvious word is the best way to go, but I'm sure I could be convinced otherwise if you think there should be no reason NOT to use the obvious word "siege" in the title.

The other ideas I have churning are something along the lines of "Champions of the Siege" or "Siege Champions" because part of the premise of the game is that the players are in the same army acting as "officers" of some sort, and the winner is he who did the most damage to the castle. However, the players are actually the "bad guys" or "barbarians" in this game, (I thought that was unique to the cliche of being the holy heroes against the evil bad guys) so the word "Champion" sounds to "good" or "holy". It should be something that an evil leader would want to be called. I don't know what word that would be.

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