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PONG - Trademark

12-29-2013, 11:12 AM
#1
Junior Member [Original Poster]
Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 1
PONG - Trademark

Hello guys.

We are working on our game TPONG. Its 2D tennis very similar to original PONG enhanced with multiplayer and skills (more info:here).

Our problem is that we wanted to use the name "TPONG" but Atari has a trademark for "PONG". Is this going to be a problem? We dont want to screw over Atari but let's face it. If anyone is going to search for 2D tenis he is gonna write either "tenis","ping-pong" or "PONG".

So I was wondering what should we do in this kind of situation? The game is not a rip off. Basic mechanics maybe the same but we have put a lot of hard-work into it and added a tons of new features and effectivly created a completely new game that is based on idea of PONG.

Under those circumstances can we use "TPONG"?

Last edited by Ryner; 12-29-2013 at 11:14 AM.
12-29-2013, 02:17 PM
#2
Dear Ryner,

What you need to do is have a Lawyer or yourself check if the tpong name is available to trademark and if it overlaps any of Ataris trademarks. I Don't think you can trademark all names associated so you might be in the clear. Just double check.

If you need more help or references just let me know,
Dev

12-29-2013, 02:58 PM
#3
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 1,002
Using the pong mechanics is fine, many people have done it. It is basically air hockey.

Using the pong name I am not so sure on since your name is clearly trying to leverage the pong brand. I think checking with a lawyer is best.
12-29-2013, 03:11 PM
#4
Please talk to a lawyer who is experienced with trademarks. The law is complex and subject to interpretation.

For what it's worth, when Gaigin made their version of Pong for NamcoBandai, they called it "Bit Trip Beat." They do use the word Pong in the game description, though. Make of that what you will.
12-31-2013, 10:20 PM
#5
Joined: Sep 2013
Location: Auckland
Posts: 115
As another note: I am pretty sure that when searching for the term "pong" in a app store, it will not give you "tpong" in the results. I have tested it a little, and it seems that the app store search doesn't do word variations like this, it simply uses the whole word. So you would still need a keyword of "pong", or have "pong" in the description to show in search results for "pong". I am not 100% certain of this, but you can try it, for example searching for "tdoodle jump" gives no results, where as searching for "doodle jump" finds that game.
12-31-2013, 11:56 PM
#6
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 1,002
Quote:
Originally Posted by OnlyJoe View Post
As another note: I am pretty sure that when searching for the term "pong" in a app store, it will not give you "tpong" in the results. I have tested it a little, and it seems that the app store search doesn't do word variations like this, it simply uses the whole word. So you would still need a keyword of "pong", or have "pong" in the description to show in search results for "pong". I am not 100% certain of this, but you can try it, for example searching for "tdoodle jump" gives no results, where as searching for "doodle jump" finds that game.
I clicked your link and you are blatantly trying to leverage the pong name. It is like you are trying to make a sequel.

I don't know if it is legal, but you should definitely take legal advice based on your website. The marketing strategy is what could get you in more trouble than the game (using the same mechanics is fine).
01-01-2014, 12:17 AM
#7
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 3,036
As a gamer, naming a game something like TPONG sounds like a cheap attempt to cash in on a legendary brand.
It also will make me feel as if your game doesn't even need to be checked out. As it is, I'd just keep scrolling.
01-01-2014, 02:41 AM
#8
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 734
Trademark infindgement is all about wether your deliberately trying to confuse the user that you are related to the original trademark in question. From your website it's clear you are.

However nobody will ever care unless you make any real money. As basically no mobile games make any money it's very unlikly you will get into any trouble and even if you do it will be a cease and desist letter first so you will just have to take down and rename it and resubmit

(I'm guessing you have set up as a legal company so they could only sue the company and not you)

On a side note I like the style of you website and game but I would like to think a team of six people can come up with a game better than a remake of pong.
01-01-2014, 08:34 AM
#9
Joined: Jan 2012
Location: Manila
Posts: 104
I'm not even sure how many people actually search the app store for "pong". Check out sensor tower to see what kinds of apps use "pong" as a keyword to get a better sense of how people are searching for games.

Offhand, given how many people seem to be blatantly using pong in their title I dont know that it will be a problem.

Still lawyer>all of toucharcade.

Play Elevator Joe!
01-01-2014, 09:05 AM
#10
Joined: Jan 2011
Location: England
Posts: 10,680
Quote:
Originally Posted by saansilt View Post
As a gamer, naming a game something like TPONG sounds like a cheap attempt to cash in on a legendary brand.
It also will make me feel as if your game doesn't even need to be checked out. As it is, I'd just keep scrolling.
I agree. I mean Atari have shut down some other games which may infringe their copyright.

I search for Pong as i like having a variety of 70s/80s/90s style games on my phone. But yeah its a bit depressing when people as you say try to cash in on the legendary name