Could I get sued for having a similar title for my game?

Can I get sued?

  • Yes

  • No

  • Maybe


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Dungeonmind

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Dragon Warrior Monsters, a game I used to play when Gameboy Color was the latest technology, is the closest match to the name I want to use, "Dragon Warrior Chronicles."

Obviously, I have not posted a project with this title yet, so it is free for anyone to use, but it was something I was considering and thought it might be a good topic of discussion.

My game isn't going to be a monster catching game at all by the way but a Tactical RPG.
 

Nolonar

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You can get sued for any reason. The real question is how likely you would lose if you did get sued (and therefore how likely it is that your opponent would sue you).

And honestly, I don't think this is a question that random people on the internet can easily answer.

Obviously, you can't use copyrighted names like "Pokémon" or "Metroid", but "Dragon Warrior" is made up of two completely normal words, so it's not as easy to answer.

But I think in that case it mostly depends on how similar your game is.

Let's say for example that you want to make a game named "Pocket Monsters" (that's what Pokémon stands for). If it's about catching monsters and using them in battle, Nintendo is very likely to sue you. But if it's a game where the player gets shrunk and explores people's pockets where they encounter monsters, I think it's a lot less likely that Nintendo will sue.

Still, I think it's better to ask a lawyer rather than risk it.
 

Skymin

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Dragon Warrior Monsters, a game I used to play when Gameboy Color was the latest technology, is the closest match to the name I want to use, "Dragon Warrior Chronicles."

Obviously, I have not posted a project with this title yet, so it is free for anyone to use, but it was something I was considering and thought it might be a good topic of discussion.

My game isn't going to be a monster catching game at all by the way but a Tactical RPG.
Ironically, the only reason they used to say Dragon Warrior in the west was because another game already used "Dragon Quest" in the Nes days resulting in forcing them to make a similar, yet different name until the former's license expires.

In short, Squaresoft, themselves had to alter their intended name into something similar so I don't see the problem since they no longer say "warrior" and only use the "Quest" name.

The switch eshop even has a game that blatantly tries to copy the DQ logo and somehow was allowed so Dragon Warrior Chronicles should be fine long as you have a different logo style just to be safe.

If every monster game under the sun can have titles that end in "mon" then your title the least of studio's worries.
 

gstv87

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it would all be on how you present your logo.
 

Arthran

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You definitely can get sued for it. Bethesda sued Mojang for making a game called "Scrolls"--despite the fact that it didn't resemble an Elder Scrolls game in any way. They've acted against other developers for using words like "Prey" and "Fallout" and the names of their games, but those developers changed the title of their games before it actually turned into a lawsuit.

If you can get sued for using a single (relatively common) word that exists in the title of another series... you can definitely get sued for making a RPG with the words "Dragon Warrior" in the title. Just in case you aren't aware, "Dragon Warrior Monsters" isn't the only Dragon Warrior game. "Dragon Warrior" was what the "Dragon Quest" series was called in all North American releases prior to 2005. So Dragon Warrior is basically an entire RPG franchise, and if you were to release an RPG called "Dragon Warrior Chronicles" there could definitely be grounds for people to claim that you're trying to pass off your game as a part of that series.

But all that being said, as Nolonar mentioned, just because you get sued doesn't necessarily mean that you will lose. And since Square Enix isn't currently using the name anymore, it's possible that they wouldn't go out of their way to bother you about it.
 
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ATT_Turan

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@Dungeonmind Aside from the game being copyrighted, Dragon Warriors is a trademark actively maintained by Square:

And that has separate laws and standards for infringement than copyright does.

I don't see the problem since they no longer say "warrior" and only use the "Quest" name.
Unfortunately, that isn't how the laws work. The strength of a copyright and trademark is in part determined by how vigilantly a company defends it, so even if they're not actively publishing games using that title anymore, it is in their interests to defend it against infringement.

Even though the proposed game title doesn't match exactly, having the extra word "Monsters," a large part of copyright and trademark legal proceedings is based on reasonable perception - is it reasonable that a potential consumer would see the title of this game, and perhaps even screenshots, and believe it's associated with the Dragon Warrior (now Quest) franchise? Quite possibly yes.

If every monster game under the sun can have titles that end in "mon" then your title the least of studio's worries.
One syllable is a completely different thing from two out of three words.

But ultimately...
I don't think this is a question that random people on the internet can easily answer.
This. As is the case with maybe 90% of copyright questions, it's not really useful to ask a public Web forum - you should confer with a copyright attorney.
 

Dungeonmind

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This. As is the case with maybe 90% of copyright questions, it's not really useful to ask a public Web forum - you should confer with a copyright attorney.

I am completely fine with the answers thus far including yours. It would be unrealistic for me to contact an attorney every time I come up with possible names for my games. I would be out of money before even starting the game.
 

bgillisp

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It varies by laws in your area. In my area as long as the title has no trademarked words in it, the answer is then it is ok to give it that name. You can even give it the same title as another game as long as they didn't trademark their name (though you probably don't want to do that due to confusion issues in finding your game too).

However do be sure to check for trademark registrations of your title and if someone has trademarked your title or major words in it, you need to change your name.

Also confirm they are accepted trademark filings and not just a troll filing. One college tried to trademark the word The. They lost. For very obvious reasons.
 

Skymin

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@Dungeonmind Aside from the game being copyrighted, Dragon Warriors is a trademark actively maintained by Square:

And that has separate laws and standards for infringement than copyright does.


Unfortunately, that isn't how the laws work. The strength of a copyright and trademark is in part determined by how vigilantly a company defends it, so even if they're not actively publishing games using that title anymore, it is in their interests to defend it against infringement.

Even though the proposed game title doesn't match exactly, having the extra word "Monsters," a large part of copyright and trademark legal proceedings is based on reasonable perception - is it reasonable that a potential consumer would see the title of this game, and perhaps even screenshots, and believe it's associated with the Dragon Warrior (now Quest) franchise? Quite possibly yes.


One syllable is a completely different thing from two out of three words.

But ultimately...

This. As is the case with maybe 90% of copyright questions, it's not really useful to ask a public Web forum - you should confer with a copyright attorney.
You're right, although "they're not actively publishing games using that title anymore" I wasn't aware that they went out of their way to renew the trademark considering even the remake/ports of the original "Dragon Warrior" games on the switch decided to use the "Quest" title further indicating they generally have no need for the original name that they only used in the west in the first place. Seems almost like a waste of money to hold onto it when they go out of their way to use the "proper" title for almost two decades now. Regardless, they still renew it so it is at the mercy of the company.

Since "one syllable is a completely different thing from two out of three words" then he could just pull off the D&D style and name the game something like Draconic Chronicles seeing how D&D can do stuff like straight-up "Draconic Warrior" in a fantasy title. Or "Draconian Warriors" that's a long fantasy book series.


To sum up: He couldn't literally use the full title "Dragon Warrior Chronicle", but he definitely can still make an extremely similar sounding title which is why I still voted for "maybe."
 
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A lot of convoluted titles have been used in recent years by devs trying to avoid trademark disputes.

I feel bad for devs a hundred years from now, who will find themselves in a much more dangerous space for naming their games, due to so many great trademarks taken by then.
 

ATT_Turan

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I am completely fine with the answers thus far including yours. It would be unrealistic for me to contact an attorney every time I come up with possible names for my games. I would be out of money before even starting the game.
That's...not really what I suggested :stickytongue: It doesn't take long to read up on the applicable sections of copyright and trademark law (there are even federally-produced YouTube tutorials to make it easier).

If, after doing that, you still have questions about how it works, consulting someone who is trained and certified to know the right answer is much safer than polling Internet randos :guffaw:

And you'd only need to do that once, at which point you have the understanding you need. I don't know why you feel you'd need to do it every time you come up with a possible name, once you know how the rules work.

But anyhow, you've gotten plenty of answers, and you're satisfied, so cool. Good luck with everything.
 

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