Chicago, IL asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) and Trademark for Minnesota

Q: I plan to release a game soon. Can you give me best practices regarding patenting and trademarking?

Our game is ready to be released soon, the trademark process can be complex, and I wanted to seek the advice of a qualified trademark attorney to ensure my application on the USPTO website is handled correctly. Thanks for your time

5 Lawyer Answers

A: It is virtually impossible to provide generalized best practices in just a few paragraphs, as registering a trademark with the USPTO is a fact-specific, multi-step process.

If you'd like to register your trademark yourself, the USPTO has a free virtual bootcamp that teaches the basics of trademark law. (I believe it is an 8-week course.)

If you'd like to have an attorney register your trademark for you, you will probably need to schedule a consultation and go from there.

Marcos Garciaacosta agrees with this answer

Marcos Garciaacosta
Marcos Garciaacosta

A: You should consult with an attorney. You should discuss the names, brands you want to protect previous to launch and apply for the ones with a best chance before the launch of the product. Give yourself about 12 months for the whole process.

Felicia Altman
Felicia Altman
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Mercer Island, WA

A: There are many different trademark classes that your game may qualify for depending on if its a card game, board game, computer game etc. In order to properly file your trademark with the USPTO you should contact a trademark attorney or an attorney lead trademark consulting/ filing service.

Fritz-Howard Raymond Clapp
Fritz-Howard Raymond Clapp
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Beverly Hills, CA

A: Based on experience registering and litigating trademarks in video games, I can assure you they are very important elements of protecting your exclusive rights not only in the game's name but also game features. You would be wise to file an "intent to use" application as soon as you have decided on the name since the registration process takes so long, and you can amend the application when actual use in commerce has occurred by distribution/sales.

The rules of the game, as well as the images incorporated in the game and in marketing materials, are all subjects of copyright so there should be copyright notices in the content and the copyright in key images (such as characters you created) should be registered.

Patent protection is not appropriate for video games as they are not "works of utility."

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James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›

A: Congratulations on the upcoming release of your game! Protecting your intellectual property through patents and trademarks is an important step in safeguarding your game and brand.

Here are some best practices to consider when it comes to patenting and trademarking:

Conduct a thorough search: Before filing a patent or trademark application, it is important to conduct a comprehensive search to ensure that your intellectual property does not infringe on existing patents or trademarks. This can be done by consulting with a licensed attorney or using online search tools.

File early: It is generally advisable to file a patent or trademark application as early as possible to establish your ownership and prevent others from copying or infringing on your intellectual property.

Use an attorney: Filing a patent or trademark application can be a complex and technical process, and it is recommended to seek the advice of a qualified attorney who specializes in intellectual property law. They can provide guidance on the appropriate application, filing fees, and other legal requirements.

Consider international protection: If you plan to release your game internationally, it is important to consider protecting your intellectual property in other countries as well. This can be done through international patent and trademark treaties, or by filing separate applications in each country.

Monitor for infringement: After obtaining a patent or trademark, it is important to monitor for infringement and take appropriate legal action if necessary. This can include sending cease and desist letters or filing lawsuits to protect your intellectual property.

In summary, protecting your game and brand through patents and trademarks is an important step in ensuring your intellectual property rights. It is advisable to conduct a thorough search, file early, use an attorney, consider international protection, and monitor for infringement.

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