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How do you know when a name is taken?

  • When you are naming your game, how do you know if it is okay to use the name you pick?

    Obviously, if a big name game has the same name, then it would be out, I assume, especially if your game is similar. Probably can't use it either if a popular movie uses it I guess.

    However, if our game doesn't have anything to do with those things, can we still use it?

    Made up Example: a game or movie called "The Death of War" has been out for some time, but is about WW2 or something. Our game is a medieval game about samurai or something. Can we use that title?

    For my actual game, all I saw was some crummy game on Sploder that happened to have the same title. It looks like some generic free-ware game though.

    Obviously, this is for games that are going to sell or at least put on major platforms (steam, windows 8, whatever).

  • I just searched on google and didn't find anything. After you pick a name you can try and copyright it.

    You can read more about it here: gamasutra.com/view/feature/131951/hey_thats_my_game_intellectual_.php

    Edit: I mean, I just searched my game name on Google and didn't find anything. I had like 3-4 backup names too, just in case.

  • Hmm, that article seems to be more about gameplay and getting your own copyrights.

    I need to know specifically about naming a game so I can get that out of the way and get to work on title screen graphics and whatnot. Not that I'm anywhere near completion. I just started. But might as well attach a name to it.

  • Traditionally, in the movie and video game industry, you can reuse a certain name, as long as it isn't a deposited brand, or that your logo doesn't plagiarizes or partially copy another game name's visual identity. In other terms, as long as there isn't a copyright or other international protection on a brand, you can use it. But that's theoretical.

    In practice, if you don't protect your brand or game in general, a company with enough funds and good lawyers could quickly deposit it as a brand and put you into a lawsuit.

    There is no real jurisprudence for video games in France for example, and I believe games also have some bastard-ish status in the US too. Anyway, every developer commercializing games independently should work with a lawyer specialized into intellectual property. Because, well, this topic is a pure mess.

  • I thought you could only get in trouble with pattented names.

    The rest is just intellectual propperty copyrights.

  • You can use anything that isn't copyrighted.

  • You can use anything that isn't copyrighted.

    then a simple question for you plinkie, what makes something copyrighted ? :)

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  • I meant trademarked I guess

  • I meant trademarked I guess

    What I mentioned earlier is the gist of whether or not you can use a name.

    Trademarked, pattented. meaning some company payed 80k/120k for a concept/name.

    If you simply place a copyright sign, or notice, or a trademark emblem ... and its not in fact pattented or copyrighted at all, it doesnt really make any difference.

    A disclaimer or use policies definition about content does.

  • Copyright happens as soon as you create something but it's not exactly airtight and doesn't protect a lot of things, not the idea or a name. Use of a trademarked name that has been registered is trademark infringement though.

  • It sounds like things should be okay. I'll just make sure nothing major is using that exact name, and it should be fine.

    I'm probably going to go ahead and use the name I thought of. Unless I come up with something I like better of course. :)

    It'd probably be best to worry about copyrighting or creating a trademark after the game is successful rather than worry about it now, if it's even worth it at all.

  • Well, there's another reason not to use another entertainment product's name or something similar : you'll loose visibility in search engines (including video platforms like youtube or vimeo in particular).

  • That's true too. Actually, the ideal name would not contain any popular search terms where it might get lost in the shuffle. Of course, that assumes that people will search for it by its specific name. A compromise will probably have to be made somewhere though between finding a great name and a visible name.

  • > I meant trademarked I guess

    What I mentioned earlier is the gist of whether or not you can use a name.

    Trademarked, pattented. meaning some company payed 80k/120k for a concept/name.

    If you simply place a copyright sign, or notice, or a trademark emblem ... and its not in fact pattented or copyrighted at all, it doesnt really make any difference.

    A disclaimer or use policies definition about content does.

    Copyright, and trademarks, are different things, and a patent is separate again.

    * If I produce a long gash of dribbling words for a product, a book, newspaper, etc, that's copyright. Technically, you don't need to register a copyright [in most countries], but damages claims are less rewarding.

    * If I invent a new product, even unique features, I can register those parts which are unique as a patent. Normally, I have to prove that I was the inventor [although corrupt & bias US patent office does cheat].

    * If I make up a unique name, or logo, that's a trademark. You're supposed to only be able to register trademarks which aren't in common use, but again, the corrupt US patent office cheats [example UGG boots, US company in the 1990s got a trademark on the name, and then hit the lawyers on every small business in Australia which made them - some having sold UGG boots for over 50 years].

    But, discounting the corruption, a trademark also only applies for the industry in which the trademark is used for. For instance, Brothers is trademarked for electronics. But you can have Brothers clubs, and probably Brothers Clothing [if somebody else doesn't have one on that].

    Further on this, a trademark only applies where there can be competition for similar buying demographics. For instance, a franchise selling ice creams from a van will probably lose if they tried to take a 5 star restaurant to court over a trademark violation.

    Finally, trademarks can be eroded by common use. Polo Shirts used to be a trademark, but common use means the trademark became worthless.

    So, there's a lot of things in relation to names and trademarks.

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