Friday, November 18, 2011

Examiner Objects to Facebook Game Trademark

Dear Rich: I need to register a trademark, which is the title of a videogame that runs on the Facebook platform. The filing was made under IC041 (Entertainment services, namely, providing on-line computer games), but when I sent over a specimen (screenshots of the game featuring the title) I was told that such a game does not constitute a "service", but rather it constitutes "goods" (video game software), thus I should better restart the filing process under IC009 (Computer game software for use on mobile and cellular phones). Am I facing a hardball attorney or are the USPTO guys right and I should restart the process? We agree with the examiner. You would use Class 009 for registering the name for a game. (You would use 041 if you were registering a website that provides the game-related services, or if you were registering the name of the company that makes the game.) The best way to avoid problems in the future is to look up similar goods and see what classes were used for those marks (or check out our book for app developers). Use the basic Trademark Search and type in the name of a video game to see its classes. For example, scroll down to see the classes sought by the Angry Birds folks.
More places to search. To identify the class for your goods, you can also search the USPTO’s Acceptable Identification of Goods and Services Manual. From the Choose Field drop-down list, pick Class, and then type in a description – for example “video game”—into the Enter Search Terms field. The search results will tell you which class is recommended. Another way to figure out which class your product falls into is to check the Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure (TMEP).