Can I Get a Trade Mark for My Video Game?
If you plan to create a video game or have already created a video game, you are likely looking for ways to protect it. One of the best ways to protect your brand assets is through a trade mark. This article will help you better understand your intellectual property (IP) options as a video game owner and will explain if you can get a trade mark for your video game.
What is a Trade Mark?
A trade mark is one type of IP protection that serves to distinguish your brand from others. A trade mark gives you exclusive rights to your trade mark, including the power to stop others from using it without your consent.
As well as the legal benefits to trade marks, they serve as an excellent marketing tool. Trade marks will help consumers remember your brand, in turn increasing the value of your brand assets.
Trade marks can take several forms, including a:
- image; or
- any combination of the above.
For your video game, the most relevant might be the name of your game or your game logo. You will also be able to trade mark any images, texts or unique sounds used in your video game.
Can I Get a Trade Mark for My Video Game?
If the brand assets of your trade mark meet the legislative requirements, you will be eligible to obtain a trade mark over them. However, it is important to note that a trade mark will not protect your game’s story or its mechanics – instead, it will only protect the branding. This makes it important to consider other types of IP protection.
Other IP Protection
Alongside registering a trade mark for your business, another form of IP protection you should consider for your video game is copyright. Copyright is an automatically granted type of IP protection over original creative works. This means if you have designed your video game and you did not copy the premise from another source, you will receive automatic copyright protection.
One of the benefits of copyright protection is the exclusive rights to your video game. This will prevent others from using your video game for their own commercial benefit. This type of protection lasts for 70 years and is granted from the date you first publish your video game.
How to Obtain a Trade Mark
To obtain a trade mark for your video game, you must first choose a strong trade mark. To ensure your trade mark is strong, you will need to ensure that your trade mark is not descriptive of your game. For example, if your video game is a zombie shooting game, you will not be able to trade mark the term ‘Zombie Shooter’. This is because other businesses in the industry will likely need to use such terms.
Once you have chosen your trade mark, you will need to ensure that it is available for use. You can do this by conducting a trade mark search using IP Australia’s trade mark search tool ATMOSS. Your trade mark must not be identical to or confusingly similar to an existing trade mark, which is essential to keep in mind when conducting your search.
The next step in obtaining a trade mark for your video game is to choose your goods for services classes. These classes refer to categories of goods and services available for registration. You can only protect your trade mark under the classes you select in your trade mark application. For example, trade mark class nine includes ‘computer software’, which might be a good choice for your game.
The next step is to apply for your trade mark. This will require submitting a trade mark application to IP Australia, Australia’s IP office. You will have to pay a filing fee. If your trade mark is approved, IP Australia will place it on the trade mark register.
Trade marks are an excellent way to protect the brand of your video game and solidify its place in the market. The key steps to registering a trade mark include:
- choosing a strong trade mark;
- nominating the relevant goods and services classes; and
- submitting a trade mark application.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can obtain a trade mark for the brand elements of your game. If your assets meet the legislative requirements, you will be eligible to obtain a trade mark over them. However, it is important to note that trade marks are limited to brand elements. This means that you will not be able to trade mark the overall concept of your video game.
A trade mark can take many forms. For example, for a video game, you may wish to consider a trade mark for your name, logo, characters, sounds or text elements used in your game.