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Old 22nd July 2008, 03:24 AM   #1

Join Date: Jul 2008
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Default Could This Be A Potential Copyright Issue For A Name?

I am considering starting a clothing line, but I found that the name I chose, is a character from a computer game. The name itself is actually original to the game, and doesn't pertain to anything else except that game (from what I can find). Does this mean that I can't use that word in my company name? If it is possibly an issue, what could I do? Would changing a vowel be ok? Any help is appreciated.

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Old 22nd July 2008, 07:29 AM   #2

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Location: New York, New York
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The lawyer answer to your question is, maybe. I know that's not really helpful, so I'll explain...

Technically speaking, the name of a video game character being used for something else not related to the character and not trying to gain attention based on the similarity of the names shouldn't be a problem. That being said, I don't know if the name is trademarked (which technically still shouldn't be a problem) which is more likely to get you dragged into a legal battle. You'd likely win, but that's not the point. Lawsuits are expensive and if you can avoid them, you should.

Here's what I would suggest, if you're ok with changing a vowel, do that. That way, should you ever be approached by the video game company you can show that you tried to avoid copying their intellectual property.

Hope that helps. If you have any other questions, please let me know.

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Any opinions are offered without knowledge of the specific law of your jurisdiction and with only the limited information provided in your post. No advice given here should be reasonably relied upon by you or any third party without consulting an attorney who is aware of all of the facts and law surrounding your situation. Any advice given here is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship in any way.

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Old 23rd July 2008, 02:00 AM   #3
Old Welsh Guy
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Location: Wales
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It also depends on how closely related to the video game style of clothing your clothing range is.

For example, if the game was called tubesliders and was all about surfing, and your range was called tubsliders, and it was a surfwear range, then you can bet your backside that a UK court would uphold a claim for 'passing off'. Passing off is a situation where the consumer might make a connection between two items, when one doesn't exist.

PO is illegal in the uk, Virgin released a Cola a few years back, and because the can was red and silver and too close to Coke's design, they ahd to re-brand.

Old Bald & Stupid, but more than compensated for by being born Welsh.
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