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To Register a Trademark or not?

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jejboulet
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Joined: 01/11/2014

Hi Designers,

I'm wondering if some of you with experience publishing games have any advice to give regarding trademarks. It seems complicated to me for a number of reasons.

First, even if you have a registered trademark in one country, that doesn't protect you somewhere else, does it?

Second, whether you register a trademark or not you basically have to be able to pay a lawyer to help you should you need to defend your right to the name, right?

Third, you could mark something with TM for free for some protection, but less protection than with the R of a registered trademark.

Basically, I'm wondering if it is worth spending the money on a registered trademark and why it is or isn't worth it. Also, if you know how this all applies in the case of merchandise and/or computerized versions of the board game I'd appreciate your thoughts as well.

Many thanks,

Jacques

RyanRay
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Joined: 03/27/2014
Read this book

Read this book asap:

http://www.amazon.com/Kobold-Guide-Board-Game-Design/dp/1936781042/ref=s...

The short answer is "don't bother." No one is going to steal your idea, and if your game is picked up by a publisher/licensee they'll take care of the trademark stuff themselves.

Under modern-day copyright law, as long as you have some sort of dated record of your idea, it's under copyright. You could post your idea on this forum and that'd work.

Save your money for better prototype materials :)

jejboulet
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Joined: 01/11/2014
Thanks for the book recommendation

Hey, thanks for answering!

I will check out the book soon. Some time ago I saw that someone had made an iOS app for Dominion without getting permission. I'll have to check if they were able to shut it down or receive compensation.

Part of what I'm wondering about is the name and/or logo of the game. Without stealing the idea it would be possible for someone to use the same name for something else or to piggy back on your idea by releasing related stuff. Does all this fall under the copyright law you mentioned?

RyanRay
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Joined: 03/27/2014
Again, as long as you've got

Again, as long as you've got a tangible and dated piece of evidence to show that you created the thing first, it's easy to defend yourself.

However, think of this practically from a thief's perspective. If I were a patent/design thief, I'd go after games like Magic, Dominion (which you mentioned), Monopoly (think of how many games stole Monopoly's format and/or board), or something else well-known. I wouldn't waste my time and energy on a game that no one's ever heard of since I don't even know if it's a worthwhile game to steal from.

Your game could be the most amazing thing to be designed in the past decade, but until it gets the notoriety there won't really be any jerks eying your stuff. And if you do end up designing the next Dominion, or Carcassonne, or Pandemic, you'll have plenty of money to defend against rip-offs and patent trolls :)

The game design world seems a bit friendlier than the Apple vs. Samsung world, and the like.

jejboulet
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Joined: 01/11/2014
Makes sense, thanks very

Makes sense, thanks very much.

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