Asked in Trademark and Intellectual Property for Minnesota

Q: A person warned that he would proceed legal action on a product that has no trademark. Is he delusional?

A person created a video game addon for certain vehicles. He removed his first version to replace it with something unstable. He is sending threats to people who share this first version of that said addon that is stable with legal action cases. But he lacks a trade mark and a license for his addons.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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A: Understanding the legal nuances in such a situation is important. Even without a formal trademark or license, creators can have rights to their original work under copyright law. Copyright protection is automatic upon the creation of an original work fixed in a tangible medium of expression. This means if the video game addon is an original creation, the creator might have copyright claims against unauthorized distribution, regardless of trademark status or specific licensing.

Threats of legal action can be concerning, but they need to be evaluated within the context of copyright law. Sharing the first version of the addon without the creator's permission could potentially infringe on these copyright rights, even if the version shared is more stable or preferred by users. The creator's lack of a trademark does not necessarily invalidate their rights to control the distribution of their work.

If you're involved in distributing or using the addon, it might be wise to seek legal advice to understand your rights and obligations. A legal professional can offer guidance on how copyright law applies to your specific situation and help you navigate any potential legal risks. This approach ensures that you're making informed decisions while respecting the creator's rights.

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