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Brand protection advice for the gaming industry: Why, what, where, when & how to register a trademark

Global market value of the gaming industry is estimated at $203 billion and is expected to increase up to $545.98 billion by 2028 [1]. Nearly two thirds of all adolescents and adults admit playing video games on at least one platform [2]. Thought-provoking insights in this article highlight the crucial role of brand protection through trademark registration in order to amplify the success of game developers!

By

Igor Demcak

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WHY? Trademark registration as a way to stay ahead of the game

The very purpose of trademark registration is to gain legal protection against identical and similar brands that could infringe upon the good reputation of your company and its products. Successful trademark registration gives its owner the right to legally challenge any brand that can be argued to create a consumer confusion. This level of protection extends to the online world, with Google, App Store, Twitter and other giants offering automated conflict resolution services for trademark owners.

This effectively means that trademark registration ensures that the brand will not get lost in the online jungle, social media and app stores among myriads of similarly sounding games. The same goes for securing the appropriate domain name, social media page and preventing competitive tactics in online search!

Need more reasons to consider trademark registration?

  • Stand out in the online & mobile jungle

  • Make sure you remarkable game does not go unnoticed

  • Fail-proof strategy to protect your brand’s future success

  • Prevents and simplifies brand infringement and conflict resolution

  • Protects the single most important asset of any company

WHAT? Comprehensive protection for the studio, game, slogan & more

There are several approaches that can be taken to protect the brand of a gaming studio, the choice of which really depends on the specific needs and ambitions of each client. Generally speaking however, it is advisable to protect both the gaming studio name and the name(s) of the game itself. While the registration of the name of the gaming studio ensures that other competitors cannot infringe upon its good reputation, trademark registration for individual games secures the aforementioned protective mechanisms in the online, mobile and social world.

The form of the trademark, that is the choice between the name, logo, visual elements, or a slogan, really depends on the scope of the protection you require. In general terms, it is the logo trademark (combining brand name and visual identity) that offers the best value for money as it provides implicit protection for both textual and visual elements within a single application (and single administrative fees). Filing separate applications for the name and the visual elements can be however recommended if you are willing to invest more, providing protection in some of the edge cases that may arise.

WHERE? Scope of protection depends on your ambitions

Overview of key markets for the gaming industry in which you may wish to consider registering a trademark:

Country

Market value ($USD billion)

Global market share (%)

Players (million)

China

46.01

22.66%

685.48

United States

40.54

19.97%

191.12

Japan

22.09

10.88%

75.62

European Union

15.62

7.62%

150.48

South Korea

7.55

3.72%

33.01

United Kingdom

5.31

2.61%

37.66

Canada

3.69

1.82%

20.98

Source: Newzoo

WHEN? Optimal trademark strategy explained

Thriving companies protect their brand from the very start! Do not think solely about the availability of the right domain name but also consider carrying out an initial search for prior trademark registrations. This step can save a considerable headache in the future and mitigate the potential risk of the need of rebranding. Essentially, not all trademarks can be successfully registered as registered trademarks need to meet two main criteria. On the one hand, they need to show high level of distinctiveness. This means that generic or descriptive terms, such as Best Game Ever, will be automatically rejected by the intellectual property office. On the other hand, owners of previously registered trademarks have the right to oppose new applications for identical or similar trademarks. The same goes for the right to issue cease & desist letters to companies marketing similar brands. As a result, it is highly recommend to make sure that the branding attached to your gaming studio and the game itself is unique enough to meet these criteria!

The optimal trademark strategy really depends on each client’s propensity to risk aversion, availability of financial resources and business ambitions. There are numerous gaming studios that want nothing less than a global success and in such a case, it is advisable to lay the groundwork by registering a trademark in the key markets, including China, the US, Japan and the EU. The scope of protection can be gradually increased over time as the global success becomes more and more apparent.

At the same time, smaller gaming studios may prefer a more cautious and money-saving approach, limiting the scope of brand protection to one or two markets from the start. In such a case, we would strongly recommend looking into the domestic market (wherever that may be) and potentially the US to gain broader protection across online, mobile and social platforms.

HOW MUCH will it cost? Transparent pricing explained

The cost of trademark registration comprises of two main elements - administrative fees charged by the intellectual property office and the provider’s service fees. We take great pride in offering highly competitive and transparent pricing, thus following our mission of ensuring that every brand can be effectively protected through simple, fast & affordable trademark registration.

The price depends on the number of countries and classes of goods and services selected, both of which ultimately define the scope of brand protection. Let’s take the US as an example where Trama offers full-service trademark registration for mere $460. Since trademark protection is valid for 10 years, this effectively comes down to an equivalent of $0.12 per day!

Full transparent price list can be found here.

HOW TO to ensure uninterrupted growth for your brand?

Team Trama is here to support you along the way. Endorsed by 3,500+ brands across the world, trademark one-stop-shop Trama offers an elegant solution to protect the heart & soul of your business! We are very proud of our clients’ successes and we would love for you to hear their first-hand experiences with Trama which you can find on our blog - Red Phantom Games and Null Boundaries Gaming.

Whenever you are ready, we are too! Simply start with our free lawyer’s check which allows us to better understand the specific needs of your business and provide tailored recommendations. Need more clarification before you are ready to proceed? No problem at all! Please schedule a free consultation with us and our representative will gladly walk you through the process, addressing any concerns you might have!

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[1] https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2022/01/24/2371836/0/en/Gaming-Market-Size-Moving-Upwards-to-Hit-USD-545-98-Billion-by-2028-Global-Gaming-Industry-Share-Heightening-Vision-in-Games-Sector-Fortune-Business-Insights.html

[2] https://www.statista.com/statistics/308454/gaming-revenue-countries/

Igor Demcak
Igor Demcak
Trademark Attorney

Founder & CEO of Trama

7 year experience in IP protection

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