Zenimax files trademark for "Dragonborn" - Page 6




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  1. #51
    How about nobody owns it and they can all use it?

    That's my vote for a word so "common" if you will.
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  • #52
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    But that would be common sense and they don't seem to have invested enough skill points in it.
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  • #53
    People need to remember that Trademarks are used for TRADE purposes, and do not prevent the general use of the word.

    Marvel comics since the early 1960s had a character called Radioactive Man (started as a Thor villain), but it wasn't until 1990 when Bongo Comics created a Radioactive Man comic based on the Simpsons when it was trademarked, and it went unchallenged by Marvel.

    "Prior Art" is for Patents, not Trademarks. Possibility of Consumer Confusion and use as a trade label is more important. I think WoTC, if they objected, would have to have proven they used it as a trade label, not just as an object of IP in their game. And unless WoTC wants to produce a product with the Trademarked phrase Dragonborn in the title, they are likely to let this slide. The only challenge could come if Zenimax tried to prevent WoTC from ever having Dragonborn characters, which is unlikely.

    Because, it doesn't prevent the use in language--Marvel's held the right to Captain Marvel for decades, but the original still goes by that name--just not on the cover.

    So, it's likely that (a) Zenimax is planning something that involves the use of the term Dragonborn in the title, and (b) WoTC is not. Simple.
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  • #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkidAce
    How about nobody owns it and they can all use it?
    What are you a communist socialist secret muslim thief terrorist pirate scofflaw who hates creativity and wants to make the shareholders of Zenimax poor because their innovative creativity of calling something a "dragonborn" cannot be capitalized on in a free market without regulation and I am Taxed Enough Already and the government should get its hands off of my Medicare!

    Wait...what?

    Anyway, trademark =/= copyright. The big difference, from my idiot's understanding, is that a "trademark" just tells you that the particular product in question came from a particular producer -- it specifically identifies the source of a particular good.

    So if someone used "dragonborn" in the title of a game after registering this, Zenimax might get huffy and claim that their trademark was violated: "Dragonborn is our trademark!" they huff. "Dragonborn = Zenimax!"

    So if WotC published a computer game called "Rise of the Dragonborn," that might be problematic. It might not be, though: if the two are unlikely to be confused, Hasbro would probably have some sort of case (not that they'd pursue it). The fact that an Elder Scrolls dragonborn and a D&D dragonborn are pretty distinct would probably be a point in Hasbro's favor (even though the dragonborn I played in Skyrim was a reptile with mammaries...yay Argonian!): someone is unlikely to confuse a D&D dragonborn with a Zenimax dragonborn....though Zenimax might have a case, there.

    If WotC published a computer game that just included the D&D dragonborn as a playable race, the only problems might be from an overly litigious Zenimax (which is a risk: Zenimax IS overly litigious!), but it's unlikely that they'd waste much time on it.

    It's also possible that they'd be turned down due to the word "dragonborn" not being distinctive enough. Given how...pliable...the agencies that regulate these things are, I don't personally hold out much hope for that. Much more likely to be decided later in court when an overzealous Zenimax sues someone who isn't going to just settle and a fair court is all like "Hey! This word is waaaaaaay to general to specifically identify a Zenimax thing."
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    Considering that D&D had 2 facebook games with dragonborns in it (D&D adventures and heroes of neverwinter me thinks) and an MMO inthe working which apparently also has dragonborns, this is actually quite an intriguing move.

  • #56
    Quote Originally Posted by Warunsun View Post
    I think this is a non-issue for WotC or Hasbro. Why would they even care? WotC has far more important things to work on like keeping their jobs. They need an attractive and selling D&D property or it all goes to video games away. Dragonborn are not an essential piece of D&D and if they were even concerned they could call them saurials or draconians instead. Non-issue.
    I always liked Saurials myself. It just sounds and looks more 'dragon-y' to me. Draconians are and always should be tied to the Dragonlance setting.



    Not surprised to see the haters here wishing for Dragonborn to be taken out of the game though (not you Warunsun)!
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  • #57
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    This only affects WotC and Zenimax's ability to name a product or market a product as "Dragonborn" And, even then, it only applies if that product is a Video Game or downloadable content for a Video Game.

  • #58
    Quote Originally Posted by shamsael View Post
    This only affects WotC and Zenimax's ability to name a product or market a product as "Dragonborn" And, even then, it only applies if that product is a Video Game or downloadable content for a Video Game.
    Really? If I made a game called Griego's Game which had playable races of Jawa, Wookiee, and Gungan, I think George Lucas would have something to say about that (through his lawyers). How is this any different?

  • #59
    Quote Originally Posted by Griego View Post
    Really? If I made a game called Griego's Game which had playable races of Jawa, Wookiee, and Gungan, I think George Lucas would have something to say about that (through his lawyers). How is this any different?
    As I understand it, it's because Jawas and Wookiees and Gungan are all copyrighted material, not because they are trademarked.

    Again, IANAL, so, take this with a huge grain of salt, but, the rules for copyright and trademark are not really all that closely related. You can trademark just about anything, so long as the trademarked whatsit is linked to a specific product. Now, that product could be all sorts of things - a sports team logo, for example. But, I don't think the Dolphins could trademark the word Miami. And, even Miami Dolphins trademark, I imagine, is a fairly specific thing - the logo, specific appearance, etc. Simply typing the words "Miami Dolphins" in a newspaper story will not violate trademark. And I could certainly make a video game about dolphins in a Miami zoo.

    I think.

    Copyright, OTOH, is to protect intellectual property. You create something new, and that thing belongs to you for a specified period of time. Snow White is a copyrighted movie. When the copyright ran out recently, other companies could produce Snow White videos because it's now public domain.

    Trademarks, I don't think, ever really become "public domain".
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    Quote Originally Posted by Griego View Post
    Really? If I made a game called Griego's Game which had playable races of Jawa, Wookiee, and Gungan, I think George Lucas would have something to say about that (through his lawyers). How is this any different?
    A) Having something to say about it through ones lawyers is not the same as actually being able to do anything about it legally.

    B) Using all of these things together is a lot less likely to work than using just one of these names in your game.

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