1. Why is it so important to trademark my game?
Trademarking is extremely cost effective way to protect your intellectual property and helps deter infringers. With federal registration, potential infringers are less likely to infringe on your trademark rights. You’re showing others that you have invested the time and money into protecting your trademark. You are also given legal advantages in court, so infringers know they are less likely to come away from litigation unscathed. The less infringement that occurs, the more business you retain. Therefore, your revenues end up being higher than they would be without registering your trademark.
2. What other benefits will trademarking my game have?
Trademarking and branding is the most valuable asset of any serious company. When investors are looking to invest in companies, the first thing they want to know is about their registered Intellectual Property (Trademarks, Copyrights, Patents) and therefore trademarks lead to an increased business resale value. The value of a registered trademark to your business is not simply a vague, theoretical estimate. Accountants actually have formulas that can put a dollar figure on it when determining the value of your business. If you decide to sell your business, or sell or lease your trademark, the calculated value of your mark can increase your asking price. It can also come in handy when seeking investors or lenders as well.
3. Is it expensive to Trademark my game?
The cost of registration depends of the type(s) of goods or services on which you are using the mark, and whether or not the Trademark Office has any problems with the application. You should expect to spend $1,500 or more to register a single mark in a single class of goods or services.
For each additional class of goods or services, there is an additional fee to the Trademark Office. For example, if you are using the mark on t-shirts (class 25) and mugs (class 21), or perhaps for custom printing services for t-shirts (class 42), each class of goods requires a separate filing fee. The same is true when you renew the registration, etc.
In connection with the benefits of Federal Trademark Registration, the costs are actually minimal when compared to the value such registration adds to your business.
4. What is the difference between copyrighting my game and trademarking it?
A copyright is used to protect websites and key brand images/logos, while a trademark protects the words/name of the brand or game, and distinguishes your product from the products of your competitors.
5. How long does a trademark last?
A trademark can last indefinitely, for as long as it is being used.
6. What is the difference between a TM and the R in a circle?
A TM is used to signal an unregistered mark.
® can be used only after a mark has been federally registered. This is an important advantage in the competitive world of business. When potential customers see this symbol, they associate it with a higher level of legitimacy and may be more likely to buy your product or service. Even those who might not know exactly what the symbol means have seen it before. They’ve seen it in advertising, in stores, on product packaging, etc. It shows up next to trademarks for big name companies, like Nike, Kodak, and 7-Eleven. When they see the same symbol next to your trademark, they can associate your product or service with other successful companies.
7. If I am shipping my game around the world - do I need to trademark it in other countries?
Yes, it is best to protect your trademark wherever you are using it as it aids in infringement and counterfeit prevention. Key locations would include China (a notorious infringing country) and the EU (which has one application that will cover all 28 member countries).
8. What kinds of things will I need to show the trademark office when filing for a mark?
To complete a trademark application you will need to provide the US Trademark Office with the following information: the name, address and type of entity of the owner; whether the mark is in use in commerce (ie being offered for sale either online or in stores); if it is in use, you must provide a date of first use in commerce and specimens (ie proof that your trademark is being used in commerce, such as pictures of your game depicting the mark on the box or packaging).
Applications can also be filed under an “Intent to Use” basis when you want to reserve the rights to a distinctive name.
9. What is a service mark?
A service mark is a mark for services offered (instead of goods), and the registration process is generally the same as for a trademark.
Information Provided By...
Mark J. Ingber, The Game Attorney
Trademarking and branding is the most valuable asset of any serious company. When investors are looking to invest in companies, the first thing they want to know is about their registered Intellectual Property (Trademarks, Copyrights, Patents). Trademarking is extremely cost effective and helps deter infringers. It is prudent for your company to police and protect all of your brand names at the earliest possible time, rather than waiting until trouble hits.
The following is an overview of the services offered by my Firm that would be helpful for the growth of your business through the protection of your IP:
- Trademark registration and policing through the filing of U.S. and international trademark applications, trademark watch services, and resolutions of domain name disputes. Additionally, trademarks are protected through Takedown notices to remove illegal content on Facebook, Google, domain registrars, Instagram, and other website.
- Copyright protection of websites and key brand images/logos.
- Counterfeit protection through customs filings in the US and worldwide (for additional information please see my firm's blog posting on counterfeit protection: http://www.ingberiplawyer.com/blog)
- Licensing agreements, manufacturing agreements and Internet (or e-commerce) agreements, which are vital to businesses, because they allow you to capitalize upon and exploit your intellectual property rights.
The Ingber Law Firm possesses the experience, knowledge and skill necessary to negotiate and prepare the appropriate agreement to maximize the return on your IP.
I have been representing Ad Magic, Inc. for many years and during this time I secured ownership and priority of all of its marks and adopted an aggressive policing policy which succeeded in eliminating copycats, infringers and counterfeiters. During this time, I have learned important aspects of the game industry and I am uniquely qualified to work with you in creating and protecting your IP portfolio that best suits game companies of all sizes and types.
If you have any additional questions or would like further information, please do not hesitate to contact my office by calling 973-921-0080 or via email at email@example.com.
Mark J. Ingber, Esq.
The Game Attorney
AV® 2015 PreeminentTM Rating
In the practice of Intellectual Property