I think that meeples are a registered design but my question is if I use the image of a meeple..or the "word" meeple...¿does the image or the word "meeple" have rights?
Explain: In my rules i refer to pawns as "meeples" cos I like to use them but in order to respect the possible rights and as I plan a semiedition in which meeples wont be included but will be mentioned (and it´s image reproduced) in the rulebook...¿do I better forget and design my own meeples?
I already did, and know where to get them in acrylic but it´s expensive for a short run and multiple colors, the manufacturer is Nestorgames. That´s why I plan to do like cheapass games, not to include such common items like meeples or dies in the edition. (so, i call it "semiedition").
As I say in other subforum I plan to save money by not including these items, using a cloth boardgame and a bag instead of a box.
The word is slang, I'm aware of no trademark associated with it. The exact "Carcassonne" meeple shape probably technically belongs to Hans im Gluck (or possibly their manufacturer of choice), but I've seen them used by a variety of companies, and strongly doubt any "licensing fee" has been paid.
I would say you are probably safe with both, but I'm certainly no lawyer.
So, I presume I won´t have trouble if I mention the word "Meeple" and use the image of Meeples in my rulebook as long as I don´t plan to include such items in the game because everybody has and they can be bought easily in many e-shops.
Thanks for the answer, I´ve even learned a new word in english, "slang".