★ TouchArcade needs your help. Click here to support us on Patreon.

Game Name Trademark Issues...

08-07-2011, 10:23 AM
#1
Game Name Trademark Issues...

Ok, so here's the scoop if you aren't up to date: Bethesda is suing Notch for using the word Scrolls in his game. Their trademark is for "The Elder Scrolls" and because Notch used the word "Scrolls" in his game they are suing.

I recently also came across this article discussing trademarks in games.

So I'm wondering, does anybody have any experience in this area? Our game is called RoboArena, Nintendo has a game called Custom Robo Arena. The games are entirely different and the names are very different as well. Also, I have checked and there is no live trademark on the name "Custom Robo Arena" "Robo Arena" or anything similar.

However, after what happened to Notch, could this represent a trademark issue?

I should probably ask a trademark lawyer... but we are operating on a shoestring here so I'm coming to the community. Any thougths?
08-07-2011, 10:39 AM
#2
Joined: Dec 2009
Location: Berlin, Germany
Posts: 1,674
well the other way around is the problem i assume..

if someone gets the trademark "scroll/s" then they could potentialy attack other companies using the term "scroll/s" in their products.. as bethesda is doing this plain simply to protect them and their trademark in sight of future claims..

if robo arena is not trademarked, then well do it yourself.. if i recall right its just 3-400$ to apply for a trademark


in the end you enter a global business market.. a single fart could be seen as a right violation of any sort if a lawyer has a bad day or just wants to force his view into things..

being proactive is in this case best.. if a trademark registrations rings up some bells in some companies you will hear from them soon enough, and then can change your name accordingly (assuming you don't want to battle nintendo & co in court, which you obviously won't do)...

in the end if you can't go the trademark route or won't.. then just be prepared to change the name of your product.. maybe design a few alternative logos while your at it.. so any ocurring problem is resolved fast

08-08-2011, 10:55 AM
#3
Quote:
Originally Posted by mr.Ugly View Post
well the other way around is the problem i assume..

if someone gets the trademark "scroll/s" then they could potentialy attack other companies using the term "scroll/s" in their products.. as bethesda is doing this plain simply to protect them and their trademark in sight of future claims..

if robo arena is not trademarked, then well do it yourself.. if i recall right its just 3-400$ to apply for a trademark


in the end you enter a global business market.. a single fart could be seen as a right violation of any sort if a lawyer has a bad day or just wants to force his view into things..

being proactive is in this case best.. if a trademark registrations rings up some bells in some companies you will hear from them soon enough, and then can change your name accordingly (assuming you don't want to battle nintendo & co in court, which you obviously won't do)...

in the end if you can't go the trademark route or won't.. then just be prepared to change the name of your product.. maybe design a few alternative logos while your at it.. so any ocurring problem is resolved fast
Thanks. We are jumping in the deep end of the pool here with all of this. Being a serious game developer means learning the ins and outs of all of these things. So I appreciate your help, and we will be proactive as you said.

Additionally, we will avoid farting in the direction of any lawyers to avoid that potential issue as well.
08-08-2011, 04:25 PM
#4
Joined: May 2011
Location: Edmonton, Canada
Posts: 245
I had the same issue with Stacword. I'd come up with a great name, the perfect name for the game. Started doing the animations, building it into the title sequence etc. Then I checked and found that it was already trademarked elsewhere for a board game and some of the big boys had bought licences to use it. I swiftly changed mine to something else, but secretly wished I'd been the first one to think of it.

Fantasy Adventure eBook set on a magical writer's desk available for DOWNLOAD @ http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00H9K3KTW
08-09-2011, 05:03 AM
#5
Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Munich
Posts: 1,137
Send a message via Skype™ to Nullroar
All this craziness has almost pushed me off the EDGE.

Oh $(*#, Tim Langdell is at my door. Be right back.

I've placed geocached DRM-free USB copies of my newest game in various locations throughout Europe and Southeastern US. Email me if you find 'em for the free "explorer" cape.
08-09-2011, 10:23 AM
#6
Yeah, trademark it yourself. They're suing because the Scrolls game the guy is making is ALSO a role playing game. They don't want to cheapen the image of their own (Elder) Scrolls roleplaying series. If it was a matching game they most likely wouldn't have sued
08-09-2011, 10:35 AM
#7
The developer of a game previously called Doodle Dash was threatened with a lawsuit by PlayFirst, the makers of games like Diner Dash because he used the word "Dash" in his game name. Preposterous I know. He changed the name of his game to Tilt Monster because of it. Why would they be allowed to trademark such a common word such as "Dash" is beyond me.

There was also a trademark dispute about the word "Edge" in several games including Soul Calibur (originally named Soul Edge) as Nullroar just referenced above me.

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=409947

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook
Tiny Toy Chest out now!
Free Version also available
08-09-2011, 11:35 AM
#8
Well, after consulting a lawyer we have determined that it's probably best for us to change the name before it is released. It's just the safe move at this point.

At least I haven't begun the major marketing push for the game yet, so hopefully it won't be too much damage done to the work we've put into promoting the game so far.

Stay tuned for our new name!

Of course... it might be good publicity to get sued by nintendo over trademark dilution or whatever they'd call it. Seems like lots of blogs pick up on that sort of thing... still, probably not worth the stress.
08-09-2011, 12:50 PM
#9
Joined: Dec 2009
Location: Berlin, Germany
Posts: 1,674
If there is no trademark live similar to your name why the change?
08-09-2011, 01:00 PM
#10
Quote:
Originally Posted by mr.Ugly View Post
If there is no trademark live similar to your name why the change?
Apparently since the Nintendo game Custom Robo Arena came out much earlier than our game and has seen multiple sequels and established brand recognition, they do have some legal basis for fighting to get the trademark assigned to them even if I register it.

I'd have a very weak argument in court, and wouldn't really have the resources available to fight it if it came to that.

Add to that the fact that Nintendo has become more litigious lately in the mobile markets... and I think it's just a beast we'd rather not poke.