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I have a game called 'Shapes Dodge' which is still in development. I figured out the name back in February when I began developing it. Since then I've been checking monthly the Google Play Store for games with similar titles and today I saw my worst nightmare coming true - there are a few games with a similar name: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=shapes%20dodge&c=apps

I am worried about the first two games which both have the name 'Shape Dodge'. So will I get sued if I publish my game with the name 'Shapes Dodge' ('shapes' with 'S' at its end) on the Google Play Store?

I want to emphasize that the content of my game is very different from these games' (different controlls, gameplay, graphics, music, etc), only the title is similar.

Please answer me as simple as possible because I am not very familiar with legislation, laws, copyright, trademark and so on. Thank you! :)

Edit

So after serios consideration and brainstorming I figured out a new name for my app: 'Dodgy Shapes'. Obvously the amount of similarity with the other apps which contain these keywords (https://play.google.com/store/searchq=shapes%20dodge&c=apps) is much less. But do you think it is enough difference so that I won't have any problems in the future?

Again, thanks to all who responded. :)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ No, i wouldn't say it was a risk tbh. If you brought a game out that played like gta and was named Giant Theft Alive then maybe, but with little company's i doubt you will. but if you want to save the risk, then maybe just consider a name change? Or you could always license and copyright your game etc. \$\endgroup\$ – Ryan white Aug 16 '16 at 11:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ IANAL. When searching the game on google play by title, if users can download and install your game instead of the other game, you're clearly walking on their turf and stealing their customers. This is trademark infringement. IANAL. Consult a lawyer. \$\endgroup\$ – Vaillancourt Aug 16 '16 at 13:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't undesrtand you.When I upload my game to the store and type 'Shapes', 'Shape Dodge', 'Shapes Dodge' or similar then all the apps with these keywords in their titles will be listed.So the users have a choice which app to install. Another example is if you type 'Dog Simulator' then many apps with similar or even equal name appear - who is stealing from whom here?Or does it matter which was the first game uploaded with that title and does it have the exlusive rights to that title? I think i'd have these rights only if it is a trademark and has the symbols TM or R.Thx for your response. \$\endgroup\$ – Bojidar Trenchev Aug 16 '16 at 16:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ "But do you think it is enough difference so that I won't have any problems in the future?" We're not a legal advice site. To have a definitive and correct answer, consult a lawyer. \$\endgroup\$ – Vaillancourt Aug 17 '16 at 10:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ The trademarks are often implicit. It's much simpler if you register it officially. The first who used the name could technically start legal actions against all the ones that game after. It's their job to hunt and shut you down; if they figure they can make more money by shutting you down, they'll do it. \$\endgroup\$ – Vaillancourt Aug 17 '16 at 10:54
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There are few possible scenarios:

  1. Games have different names and different gameplay.
  2. Games have same name, but differ when it comes to their actual content and gameplay.
  3. Games have different names, but are nearly identical in gameplay.
  4. Games are identical both in names and gameplay.
  5. Game is a rip-off of some other proprietary thing.

Now it easier to say that 1 and 2 are safe, 4 and 5 are totally not safe, and 3 could be controversial. Of course the other author can try to sue you in every scenario, but when the game is based on simple and rather common principles, then it would be hard for him to prove his claims.

Scenario #5 would be if you make game based on, e.g. Game of Thrones.

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    \$\begingroup\$ 3 is not controversial, you can't copyright gameplay mechanics \$\endgroup\$ – Bálint Aug 16 '16 at 11:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ By gameplay I meant mix of mechanics and content. You could "borrow" models, stories, etc. But if mechanics can't be copyrighted, then it would narrow down to content only. It still differs from #4 which was meant as almost 1-to-1 copy. And suing might not be successful if content was modified in a way that it is hard to prove its origins. Thus I see it as controversial. \$\endgroup\$ – Mars Aug 16 '16 at 12:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think that my scenario is the 2nd one with the difference that the title of my game is NOT the same with the others - it is Shapes Dodge and the other similar are Shape Dodge,Dodge the Shapes',Shapes, etc. I checked them and I'm sure that the content of my game is completely different from their.My game has different game mechanics, gameplay, graphics, music, etc.So I really hope that I won't have any problems with the title in the future when I upload my app.Btw I'm not into changing the name because I've already prepared promotion materials with it.Thx for your answers. \$\endgroup\$ – Bojidar Trenchev Aug 16 '16 at 16:34

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