If you’ve created a board game, you may want to consider registering for a trademark. Maybe more than one.
Trademarks protect the name, logo, and other identifying marks of your board game. Further, trademark registration can prevent others from using your identifying marks without your permission. In this post, we’ll walk you through trademarking a board game.
Step 1: Conduct a trademark search
Before applying for a trademark for your board game, you should conduct a trademark search to ensure your desired trademark is not already in use. You can do this by searching the USPTO’s trademark database or hiring a trademark attorney to conduct a search for you.
Step 2: Determine your basis for trademark registration
There are two main bases for trademark registration: use in commerce and intent to use.
If you are already selling your board game, you can file for trademark registration based on use in commerce. You must provide the USPTO with evidence through a real example of current use in commerce.
If you have not yet started selling your board game, you can file for trademark registration based on intent to use. Though there are benefits to submitting an application prior to use in commerce, your mark is not officially registered until its first commercial use.
Step 3: File your trademark application
Once you have determined your basis for trademark registration, file your trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Your trademark application should include:
- A brief description of your board game.
- A “specimen” of your trademark, meaning a real example.
- Marks can include a name, logo, or other identifying mark for a board game or company.
- A filing fee, which varies depending on your basis for trademark registration.
Step 4: Wait for USPTO review
After you submit your trademark application, the USPTO will review it to ensure it is distinctive and compliant. If your application is incomplete or contains errors, the USPTO will issue an office action requiring you to correct the issues before your application can be approved.
Step 5: Respond to any office actions
If the USPTO issues an office action, you will need to respond to it within a certain timeframe. This may involve submitting additional information or making changes to your trademark application.
Step 6: Wait for trademark approval
If your trademark application is approved, you will receive a registration certificate from the USPTO. This certificate gives you the exclusive right to use your trademark in connection with your board game and any related goods and services.
Additional Tips for Trademarking a Board Game
Hire a trademark attorney
While it is possible to file a trademark application on your own, hiring a trademark attorney helps ensure a correctly-completed trademark application that protects your brand to the fullest extent possible.
Use your trademark consistently
Consistent use of a trademark is important to maintain its strength and status. Maintaining your trademark’s distinctiveness requires you consistently use the same designs. In other words, make sure you like the design of the branding before submission to the USPTO.
Monitor for infringement
Once you have obtained trademark protection for your board game, monitor for any infringement of your trademark. If you find that someone is using your trademark without your permission, you may want to speak with an attorney to discuss further steps in accordance with your rights.
Consider international trademark protection
If you plan to sell your board game outside of the United States, you should consider obtaining trademark protection in other countries.
Trademarking your board game can help protect your brand and prevent others from using your identifying marks without permission. By following the steps outlined above, you can obtain trademark protection for your board game and ensure that your hard work is protected for years to come.