A trademark is a sign, symbol, word or words which are legally registered to distinguish your goods and services from other businesses. The trademark has to be distinctive and help explain what goods you are trying to sell or the service you are wanting to provide. This is so that they can be set apart from other individuals trademarks.
You are unable to create a trademark if it is already used, if it doesn’t fit in with the requirements for a trademark or if it uses an emblem that is has protection under an international agreement e.g. official signs or flags. All trademarks are registered under the register of trademarks which contains an application, examination, search and potential opposition by third parties. Once a trademark has been registered, it has an ® (R in a circle) placed by the side of the trademark.
A trademark provides protection as it gives the company a right to use it to identify goods with it or allows another business to use it in return for a payment. It also signifies the quality linked with the brand, so trademarks are important otherwise people may associate someone else’s product with yours.
Trademarks can apply in numerous examples within Game design, for example a business would not be able to use the name of another individuals game, even more so if its trademarked. If a character is trademarked then you will not be able to use the name or term defined in the trademark document for example the term ‘droid’ is owned by Lucasfilm and anyone who uses it will have to pay a fee to Lucasfilm for using it. So for example Motorola Droid will have to pay Lucasfilm over the use of their term.
(Example 1) A recent example of trademarks could be Sony giving up four of its trademarks because they had not been used so they would either have to show proof or extend it further, so Sony let them expire. This means that anybody can take up that trademark and if Sony changed their mind and wanted to call a game that, then they would have to pay a fee to the individual who owned the trademark in the instance they let them use it at all.
(Example 2) Another instance of trademark being used is Candy Crush developer King having the right to trademark the word candy because of it being widely used within their IP and it was being highly infringed by other developers. This trademark was only registered for the EU, but it does not mean people can’t use the word Candy it just means that it has more conditions for it to be used. King believed that it was causing other individuals to associate another application with theirs and causing the rival company to gain more hits because of the success of candy crush. Another negative of this for king is that because it is being associated with a product of lower quality etc it was damaging Kings brand.