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I was planning to name each weapon at the weapon shop and I was wondering if it is safe to use the real name of each weapon and model as well before publishing it via Google Play Store for my created game app? I'm using a freemodel method with ad banner on menu on it, user friendly. I'm making a concept third-person shooter zombie survival game.

I'm checking some other sample of the games, (other than from mobile app) one from the gamer console's classic in PlayStation 1 game Syphon Filter; and the other one from the PC, a popular online FPS game created by Korea called CrossFire. Let's take a comparison's similar of the gun (both gun model name and the model itself) used between these two:

  • In Syphon Filter, the name of this assault rifle is PK-102. (See gameplay video here) It was based either a model from AK-47, AK-74, or AK-102 assault rifle in metalic like body.
  • In CrossFire, the name of this assault rifle retained the original name AK-47 along with the model itself. (See video gameplay here.) It assumed they take for a permission to use the original name before using it.

I want to know more further if it is safe to use the model name only but not mentioning the corporation name who created the AK-47. Naming a gun could be striking, same thing naming the actor of the game. If not, probably if it is also okay to name close to the original but at least it's not against the copyright standards.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Related question: "Do you need a license for weapon models?" \$\endgroup\$ – Philipp Jul 4 '15 at 18:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ Related TVTropes: "A.K.A.-47" \$\endgroup\$ – Philipp Jul 4 '15 at 18:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Philipp, I found a quick scan on this example from the link you've shared me: "Mostly averted in Global Offensive. Most guns are called by their actual names (although without the weapon manufacturers), with the exceptions of the sawed off Remington 870 and the Taser. The Taser uses this trope (as Taser is a brand-name), being named the "Zeus x27," while the sawed off Remington 870 is simply called the "Sawed-Off Shotgun"." (first person shooter section) \$\endgroup\$ – David Dimalanta Jul 5 '15 at 7:05
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(I am not a lawyer, and this is definitely not legal advice.)

The kind of laws and regulations you should look into are probably trademark law, as most of the time, the design, names, shapes, and other identifiable attributes are covered by registered marks. Contact a lawyer in that field and you could probably get some up-front evaluations of your situation for a reasonable dime.

You may find some prior art in car games, where licensing costs big money and has severe restrictions on the use of the vehicles. If you've ever wondered why some games do not have any form of visible car damage, the answer is "license terms".

Note that in many areas, developers unknowingly or knowingly use the marks of others in their products. That does not give you the right to do it as well, and if you're in a market where it's easy to sue you, you should probably look forward to legal action.

A particularly fun aspect of trademark infringement is that as the holder of a mark, you're expected to actively defend it from commoditization and misuse, even if it may appear silly lest you'd lose the right to the mark.

In recent history, you've got encounters like:

  • Metro AG vs. Microsoft (using the term "Metro" for their UI design),
  • Zenimax vs. Mojang ("Scrolls" resembling "The Elder Scrolls"),
  • Langdell suing everyone ever using the term "Edge".

In the end, if you publish anything whether it is making you money or not, you should probably have legal representation in some form. Paying for the occasional chat with your lawyer up-front beats having to find a decent one when you're subject to legal action.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ And gz for your 3k rep :) \$\endgroup\$ – Alexandre Vaillancourt Jul 4 '15 at 16:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Not to forget Metro AG vs. NASA for using Saturn chuckle \$\endgroup\$ – ott-- Jul 4 '15 at 20:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hmm...Whatever the case, using or inserting the company's name next to actual gun name may required permission, right? \$\endgroup\$ – David Dimalanta Jul 5 '15 at 7:12

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