Q: How should I know what is patent design and what not.

I'm developing a game and it's purpose is to simulate the real life in all of it's aspects, from driving a car to lead a billion-dollar company. I need to use a lot of vehicles (cars, trucks, trains, planes, ships...) and they are based on real life ones. For example, I have a Dodge Challenger 3d model, and I want to use it. Of course, it will be "manufactured" by a fictive company inside my game since I can't use Dodge's name, nor the Challenger model name. Is it risky to use the model, but renamed and without logos and other trademarks from Dodge? If yes, how much do I need to modify it in order to not be considered Dodge's patent?

1 Lawyer Answer
Kevin E. Flynn
Kevin E. Flynn
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Pittsboro, NC

A: I doubt that this is a patent question. I would be shocked if Dodge had a design patent on a virtual image of any of its automobiles. Their patents for things in the real world don't apply to images rather than actual automobiles.

Note that phone manufacturers can and do get design patents on what their phone screens look like during use but that is directly related to what they sell. A software app can get a design patent on a particular icon used on the telephone screen to identify the app. Dodge does not sell virtual cars.

There are issues about trademark, trade dress, dilution, and other issues that need to be discussed with a trademark attorney.

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