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Trademark my game name and logo, and copyright the content

Hello,

I am working on my title in UE4, and I am going to ship in a few month and I would like to know a few thing about Trademark and Copyright.

I have watched the Twitch live stream of the legal and licensing, and please correct me if I got it wrong, or if I missed somthing. Since I am on a tight budget, what I can do is Trademark the game's Name and Logo, and copyright the content, in at least the US, Canada, Europe, and China, and the countries I am targeting.

My main objective is not getting sued if my game, its name, or its logo are similar to another product or company.

Also, Can I trademark the Logo and Name together? And if I did that, can I use the logo without the name later? Or move the Name position? For example, if I trademark the logo with name underneath, can I use the logo with name on the side?

In addition, if the game was on iOS, Steam, Playstore, Windows Store or any store, do they offer some sort of protection? Do I need to copyright the game then? Or just being on a store is enough.

Finally, just to get an ideas, how much the entire process will cost me? (An approximation, how many zeroes?)

P.S.: I am aware that in any game, it is recommended to have a lawyer working on the legal stuff, and that is the plan, but till then, I would really appreciate if I can get someone's opinion on this matter.

Thank you

Product Version: UE 4.9 Preview
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asked Aug 30 '15 at 02:13 PM in Legal & Licensing

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Joseph Azzam
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Since I can't give you legal advice, I'll only speak in generalities and won't speak to all of your questions. Others are welcome to chime in more specifically.

  • It is possible and even common to trademark a game name and a game logo separately (even though the logo generally includes the game name). The former is called a word mark and the latter is a design mark.

  • Trademark registrations are generally only effective in the jurisdiction (country usually) of registration. So it's common for successful games to be registered in multiple countries. That of course increases cost.

  • It's more and more common for individuals, rather than lawyers, to file trademark applications themselves in the US. The USPTO has made this easier with online application. Lawyers are used to file application, guide applicants through the process, and to give advice on trademarks and appeals. Statistically, trademarks filed by lawyers are more likely to be successful (at least based on the last data I saw on that).

  • There are registration fees either way, but adding a lawyer might be done as cheaply as $1000, it really depends on who you use.

  • Copyright application is more commonly done in one country only. Most countries are signed the Berne Convention which basically gives effect to foreign copyright registrations, so generally you can sue in another country based on a copyright registration in your country.

  • Suing for copyright infringement can be done without a registration, since copyrights exist from the moment of creation, but there are some benefits to registration (especially prior to publication) such as statutory damages.

  • There aren't really IP protections offered by way of distributing on a platform like iTunes or Steam as far as I know.

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answered Aug 30 '15 at 03:42 PM

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atypic STAFF
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avatar image Joseph Azzam Aug 30 '15 at 05:33 PM

Thank you so much! :)

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