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Trademark (self publishing) is it worth it?

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Anonymous

Hi,

I have built a game and I plan to self publish it. I am making about 3000 games and I will be selling them to special stores because my game is targeted to a "niche" market. I recently was informed to apply for a Trade mark cost about $600.00 (see below)

TradeMark Express: The first step in the research is the US Federal & State trademark search, which is a comprehensive search of the pending and registered Federal & State trademark files. Similarities in Sound, Appearance & Meaning are searched in accordance with the USPTO's guidelines. The comprehensive US Federal & State trademark search is $250.
TradeMark Express: The next step in the research is the US National Common-Law search, which is a comprehensive search of 16+ million trade names. Some of the databases checked include Dun & Bradstreet (r), DBA fictitious filing names, company directories & profiles, incorporations, newspapers, product announcements, etc. The comprehensive US National Common-Law search is $200.
TradeMark Express: To prepare AND file a Federal trademark application, we charge $150.

I think many of us here are in the same boat. We got ideas but most of us don't have $15,000 to kill on each idea. Is it a MUST to trademark the name of your game?

An alternative is to Trademark it as soon as you have some income coming in from the sales of your games (that way at least you know its not a flop and its "worth" trademarking it).

Please advise

Thank you

Zzzzz
Zzzzz's picture
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Joined: 06/20/2008
Trademark (self publishing) is it worth it?

First, in no way am I a lawyer and what I state is based on my own knowledge.

You do not need to trademark any product/name that you do not wish to protect. The issue with not trademarking you product name, someone else can use the name and you have no legal means to stop them from using the same name.

You should at least investigate the name you are going to use, as to assure it is not already trademarked by another person/company. If you use a name that is already trademarked, you can be liable and could be sued. But I believe there are other ways to research the name, without having to pay $600, but I do not know off hand what you would need to do this.

If you do not trademark your product name, someone could always trademark it before you get a chance to down the road. Not sure what happens in this situation...

Bottom line, if you are about to invest "a lot" of money into the production and publishing of a game, you already have some confidence in it. If $250 or $600 is a small amount (with respect to all of the other prodution costs), it might be in your best interest to get a trademark. But that is something you have to decide.

Anonymous
Trademark (self publishing) is it worth it?

Zzzzz wrote:
First, in no way am I a lawyer and what I state is based on my own knowledge.

I second that and will start off by saying that I, too am not a lawyer and that this does not constitute legal advice.

It is my understanding (from limited research in the field of intellectual property rights) that the TM symbol may be used to indicate your intent to use a specific logotype or other mark related to the trade of your product. Once registered, you are allowed to use the ® symbol in conjunction with your mark. The TM offers you some protection in that it will indicate to others that the mark is intended to be identified with your product. I don't know what degree of protection you would get in court if it came to that, though.

My advice to you is to hire a competent attorney that specializes in the intellectual proerty laws of your area. They will probably even give you an initial consultation for free or for a reasonable price. It's worth it to know that you're not shelling out money needlessly.

Anonymous
Trademark (self publishing) is it worth it?

Thanks guys for your help.

Ali

Anonymous
Trademark (self publishing) is it worth it?

I'm not a lawyer either and the other guys probably know a lot more then me on the topic,

From what I read board games - the board box and instructions, can all be protected either by copyright patent or trademark. patent and trademark will cost you money (but are also the most law binding) but a plain (C) offers you some protection, at the bottom of your what ever it may be place a (C) 2004 all rights reserved to ***** , and if it is a small item you should also send it to yourself by registered mail with a time stamp on it, as evidence if you may need to prove that you created what ever it may be first.

Hope I helped,

Aaron l

Oracle
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Joined: 06/22/2010
Trademark (self publishing) is it worth it?

I'm also not a lawyer. This comes from a course in information technology law I took years ago.

You can do the trademark search yourself at the uspto website, www.uspto.gov and save the $250.

Trademarks tend to have a very narrow range of things they cover. If you do use the search featureon that site, you'll see a "goods and services" field. You can produce something not listed in that field and use the same name without infringing the trademark. If a name is trademarked for something not game related, you can probably still use the name for a game (but definately see a lawyer first).

For example (from my class) pink is a registered trademark for fiberglass insulation. The filing is http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=8bsr2g.5.21
That means if you make fiberglass insulation, you can't make it pink, but you can still make other other pink products. Their trademark doesn't give them exclusive use of the color pink except in a very narrow area.

If you do a search for pink, you'll find over a thousand matches that (hopefully) don't infringe on each other.

The most important point is enforcement. Just because you have a registered trademark, it doesn't automatically protect you. If someone infringes on your trademark, you will have to hire lawyers to stop them and that will make the $600 look like a drop in the bucket. To make matters worse, trademark law is designed as a use it or lose it type of things. If you don't send in the lawyers to defend your trademark you will lose your rights to it.

From the other posts in the thread it looks like it might be unclear what a trademark is. It only protects a name or a symbol used in place of a name (a logo). If you get a trademark for your game, it would not in any way mean someone else isn't allowed to make an identical game with only the name changed. To protect the artwork/etc you're talking about copyright.

Jason

Anonymous
Trademark (self publishing) is it worth it?

Wow! There are a lot of NOT lawyers on this site! ; )

Anonymous
Trademark (self publishing) is it worth it?

While i am not a lawyer and do not play one on TV, i do have a useful suggestion:

Take your question over to http://www.intelproplaw.com/ and find your answer. You can look around the site or ask your question in their forums and get some direction...

Thomas

phpbbadmin
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Joined: 04/23/2013
Trademark (self publishing) is it worth it?

LordSmerf wrote:
While i am not a lawyer and do not play one on TV, i do have a useful suggestion:

Take your question over to http://www.intelproplaw.com/ and find your answer. You can look around the site or ask your question in their forums and get some direction...

Thomas

Tastey wiki fodder. =)

-Darke

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