Similar Game Titles - Copyrights Questions

SomaelCK

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My first commercial game, DarkEnd will be released within a few days and I recently found out there is another indie game with similar title as my game called "Dark End" which apparently started since 2011, but halted/stopped in 2012 (earlier than me). I would like to know whether I should change or tweak my game's title? I don't really know about copyright law and stuff.

Apart from the name, our game's logo, visual art, theme and genre is vastly differ though.

Here is the Link to the "Dark End" and my DarkEnd can be access from my sig.

Thanks
 

Psyker

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I wouldn't expect you to have any problems.  One, your game is DarkEnd and their game is Dark End.  Two, you aren't trying to do anything deceptive and run off any success, hype, whatever off the title mentioned beforehand.

The similarity ends at the title.  Everything else is completely different.

While I am no lawyer or legal expert, I wouldn't think they would have any grounds to come against you or your company.

This following TradeMark purchasing site says DarkEnd and Dark End is available.

http://www.trademarkia.com/trademarks-search.aspx?tn=DarkEnd
 
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Caitlin

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I am not a legal expert, but let's take a real case. Nintendo owns the name, play station, so sony had to use the name, playstation, but it is not the same name.  I believe you are okay. 
 

SomaelCK

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Thanks for the answers :D

That clears things pretty much.

Edit :
 

Awesome name. How much will your game cost?
Actually, we haven't set a fixed price yet. Currently negotiating. But it will be around 12-15$ (even lesser with a launch discount), considering the length of the game, custom-contents we've added, and replay value of the game. :D
 
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Matseb2611

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I think it depends on whether they've trademarked that name or not. If they haven't, then you should be safe.
 

Kes

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Matseb has named the key distinction.

A title cannot be copyrighted; it can be registered as a trademark.  So, for example, Harry Potter titles have all been registered as trademarks.
 

Crifmer

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If a trademark hasn't been filed, then what really matters is usage.

If that previous game has never been published in a public forum (freeware, shareware, etc), then you're home free.  If that name has been bandied about with logos, etc, then a case can be made (maybe).

If, however, it has been dormant since 2012 as you said, then I don't see a problem here.  No tradmark filed, no usage, and no damages to make claim over.  There's no lawsuit here.  Even if it has been just talked about and the name's been in public, there's still no real case since there's no product to make a case over.

The thing to keep in mind that trademarks are not protection, they're a weapon.  Even if they did have a trademark, you're not actually breaking any laws.  Well, you are are kinda, but it's a civil law - it is enforced by only the trademark holder.  There's nothing stopping you if they never actually use their trademark protection to sue for a cease and desist.  If the project's been dormant since 2012, I find that highly unlikely to happen even if they did file the trademark.  They won't get automatically alerted that you're using a similar name.  They'd have to actively find it and then ask you to stop using the name.

I don't think you have to worry unless there's a playable game out there being sold for money.

Note that I'm not a lawyer.  I've just studied IP law quite a bit in prep for my own forays into professional creativity.
 

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