Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




Trademark Question

Ok, this is a bit off topic, but still loosely tied to software development.

I am writing an online game site, which is based on cars.  If I were to include real cars, such as a BMW 3 series etc, would I need to clear this with BMW and potentially pay to use their trademark?  Could this vary per auto-maker?

There are a ton of 3d models available for these cars online, so I was hoping to capitalize on this.  However, they are all based real automobiles.  I assume that just the look and feel of these cars is property of the auto-maker, so just using a model with a different name is not an option, correct?

Thanks,
---Seeker

Seeker
Monday, August 30, 2004

Yeah you'd need to talk to them if you're game is likely to get much exposure. There's all kinds of legal minefields they could throw you into if they felt like it. At the very least they're likely to want to some kind of assurance as to how their brand is going to be represented in the game (do you fancy a trademark defamation suit? No, thought not...)

Andrew Cherry
Monday, August 30, 2004

You'll probably have to sign some sort of licensing agreement. For example, Gran Turismo 3 didn't include any car from the Ferrari marque because they didn't strike up a licensing deal.
The same goes for Porsche (although there is a Ruf 911 which was allowed because it was badged as a Ruf - not a Porsche, go figure!).

Talk to the head office of BMW for the country you're in and with a bit of luck they'll point you in the direction of someone to contact at BMW AG.

Good luck!

TheGeezer
Monday, August 30, 2004

Pick the right jalopies and get them to pay you. Hollywood calls it product placement. You could be guided by point 9 in here:-

http://www.zeropaid.com/bbs/archive/index.php/t-13399

trollop
Monday, August 30, 2004

As long as you're not running down little old ladies in your game, it really might just be as easy as to sign an agreement saying you won't start using their brand to run down little old ladies AND WILL include appropriate language aknowledging the trademark somewhere in the documentation / application.

<sigh/>
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Companies are a lot more careful in their licensing than in the past. If they don't believe that you can make their products shine in the game, then you won't have the right to use their brand.

It's not for the best for BMW if the controls in the game are unresponsive, and due to a bug a cheap car such as a Cavalier beats the hell out of a BMW.

Eric V.
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

> It's not for the best for BMW if the controls in the game are
> unresponsive, and due to a bug a cheap car such as a
> Cavalier beats the hell out of a BMW.

If you are stupid enough to believe that in real life a Cavalier can beat the hell out of a BMW, then that's something you have to live with and deal with.. No amount of licensing will change the fact that you are a moron.

just me and myself and I
Tuesday, August 31, 2004


Clarification:

"you" as in "whoever is playing the game"... I didn't mean to targey "Eric V." personally.

just me and myself and I
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

"No amount of licensing will change the fact that you are a moron."

Doesn't matter, BMW would be pissed either way. Plus I think you're understimating people. I remember car manufacturers didn't want their cars in the first Gran Turismo because they didn't want them to be damaged at all. Gran Turismo had to "make do" without them.

www.MarkTAW.com
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Well then.. let me restate my statement: No amount of licensing will compensate for the fact that you are a moron whether you play computer games, or run an automobile company.  How is that?  :)

just me and myself and I
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home