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I'm developing a small puzzle game called "Block Buster" and I was wondering if there will be any collision with already existing "Blockbuster" (movie rental company) registered trademark.

Does the space or case difference in the trademark mean something? Or is there any difference in that Blockbuster is a movie renting company and I will just be selling a game?

Do I really have to change the game's name?

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This forum is more for game development questions related to programming, rather than legal advise. I would guess that the name would indeed cause a problem, but I'm no lawyer. If you really want to go with that exact name you should probably get some professional legal advice. –  Nic Foster Feb 21 '12 at 15:33
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I think we should seriously work on getting a law SO, i know aome others have problems with the very same thing. –  akled Feb 21 '12 at 15:49
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For the law SO they could just write a script that replies "Ask a lawyer" to every question. –  jhocking Feb 21 '12 at 15:51
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A programming answer that sounds ok, even if it wasn't from a qualified programmer, is useful. Legal advice that sounds ok, if it's not from a qualified lawyer, is probably harmful. Anyway, this is a bit meta –  Gareth Feb 21 '12 at 17:34
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On the majority of these questions I think some general help can be given without giving definitive legal advice. Definitive advice is what non lawyers should stay away from, experiential advice should be welcome as long as it's affirmed after the fact. I hate this aversion to helping with legal questions just for the habit of averting them. They can and do apply to us as indie developers so we should atleast get a general idea from others who have experienced it. –  brandon Feb 21 '12 at 20:40
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4 Answers

If you don't want to take the risk of being taken to court then change the name. In reality it is unlikely you will be sued due to a game and a video rental store being in completely different markets. However, it's still possible thanks to the close resemblance in name.

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-1. You are not a lawyer, you should not be giving "sure, it's probably okay" legal advice. –  Trevor Powell Feb 22 '12 at 9:58
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I would say a programmer who has asked this exact question to his lawyer may be some help? I'm not a lawyer so take this as for what it is. blah blah blah

I asked this question about my IOS game which incidentally has the exact name as an album on iTunes. So it's not only the same name, it's the same name in the same store. Luckily my lawyer informed me that trademarks can only be enforced when there is a possibility of confusion of the two products or the names are the same in the same industry. In my case it was determined that a game is not a competitor or in the same industry as a song so I was given the OK. Granted my case is much more gray than yours.

I'm pretty sure nobody will confuse an indie developed block breaking game with the dying movie rental company. Just my thoughts.

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-1. You are not a lawyer, you should not be giving "sure, it's probably okay" legal advice, just in case you're wrong in this specific instance. –  Trevor Powell Feb 22 '12 at 9:57
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@TrevorPowell: you are not entitled deciding what is and is not on topic, so you should not spam the same (wrong) comment on random answers. –  Lohoris Feb 22 '12 at 10:14
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@TrevorPowell, you're also not a lawyer, so telling me that sharing my experience is wrong because of your understanding of the law is also legal advice which seems ironic. I could also spam messages like "you're not a professional programmer so you shouldn't be giving programming advice". If qualifications weighed heavier than experience on this site, there would be little to no content. –  brandon Feb 22 '12 at 14:24
    
Please read my comment again. @Lohoris, I didn't say that the question was off-topic. Brandon, I didn't say that you were wrong to share your experience. I was pointing out that if the advice you gave ("I'm pretty sure nobody...") was wrong, that someone could be sued or go to jail as a result. You two may be comfortable having people confer that kind of risk onto others in exchange for personal rep gains, but I am not. Hence spending my own rep in order to cast a downvote to try to protect future visitors to this site. Sincere apologies if my downvote comment was unclear on this. –  Trevor Powell Feb 23 '12 at 8:19
    
This series of comments is better suited to be continued on the meta, but I think the disconnect here is that I'm not saying "I'm a lawyer" or "you will be fine". I stated the subjected comment that I, being me, am pretty sure nobody will confuse you with blockbuster. This is not definitive legal advice, I'm saying the obvious. The big point here is that everyone understands these comments are what they are, opinions based on experience. It only becomes an issue if I act like I'm an attorney giving free advice, which I'm not. If they go with my comments as definitive, they are not bright. –  brandon Feb 23 '12 at 16:49
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You're unlikely to run into any trouble with Blockbuster the movie-rental folks, but might have (marginally) more issues being confused with Block Buster the Flash game, Blockbuster! the other Flash game, Block Buster the other other Flash game, or one of several games on the App Store, or possibly even Block Buster the arcade game.

(In other words, you're probably okay, but a more unusual name might be in order - especially if you want anyone to be able to search for your game without wading through several pages' worth of competing hits.)

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-1. You are not a lawyer, you should not be giving "sure, it's probably okay" legal advice. –  Trevor Powell Feb 22 '12 at 9:59
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I'm not a lawyer, etc.

Just pointing out that, even though the markets are very different, you could still have issues from over-zealous lawyers at Blockbuster (or any other similarly named company). See http://www.sparkfun.com/news/300 for an example in which SPARC, the mainframe server brand, sent a cease and desist to SparkFun, the hobby electronics online store, on the basis of a rather more tenuous link in trademark than Blockbuster/Block Buster.

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