American Fork, UT asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark for Utah

Q: Hello gentlemen of Justia,I am starting a new collectible trading card game and I would like to Copyright the name.

I am starting a new collectible trading card game and I would like to Copyright the name before start all the design and PR. Is there a way to check if names are copyrighted or not? And Also, if a name is copyrighted but under another category (videogames for example), what happen?

I would like to start the process. Thanks

2 Lawyer Answers
Fritz-Howard Raymond Clapp
Fritz-Howard Raymond Clapp pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Beverly Hills, CA

A: The concern is with trademarks, not copyright. You should consult an experienced trademark attorney to review your plan, research existing marks and assist with the selection of a mark that you will be able to register for exclusive use in the relevant market. If the game will be distributed in digital form, the mark should be registered in the class for downloadable media, and if it is distributed on paper the mark should be registered for printed matter. It may be prudent to file an application to register the mark you choose on an "intent to use" basis before actually selling it, to begin the registration process as early as possible since it takes about 8 months before an application reaches an examiner to be reviewed.

Sheldon Starke agrees with this answer

James L. Arrasmith
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A: To protect the name of your collectible trading card game, you should consider trademark registration, not copyright. Copyrights protect original works of authorship, like books and music, while trademarks protect brand names, logos, and other identifiers of the source of goods or services.

Before proceeding, it's important to conduct a trademark search to ensure your chosen name isn't already in use or registered for similar products. This can be done through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website. If a name is already trademarked in a different category, such as video games, it might still be possible to use the same name for your card game, but this depends on whether it would cause confusion among consumers.

If the name is available, you can file a trademark application with the USPTO. The process includes specifying the exact goods or services you want to trademark and may involve legal nuances. Given the complexity of trademark law and the importance of properly securing your brand, it would be wise to consult with an attorney experienced in intellectual property. They can assist with the search, evaluate the likelihood of registration success, and guide you through the application process.

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