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5 Trade Mark Strategies for Gaming Companies NZ 

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Protecting intellectual property rights is essential for all businesses looking to carve out their space in a competitive niche. This includes the gaming industry. One of the primary ways to protect your brand is through registering a trade mark. This article will discuss five strategies owners of gaming companies should take note of if they are looking to register trade marks.

1. Factor in Industry Dynamics

A mix of different players make up the gaming industry. Some key industry players include:

  • game developers;
  • artists;
  • hardware manufacturers;
  • publishers; and
  • esports companies.

These stakeholders work anywhere from small organisations to large companies with huge budgets. However, intellectual property protection is critical for sustainable growth and success regardless of the type or size of the business. Figuring out where you fit in will help you ascertain the types of trade marks you need to register. 

For example, if you are a game developer or artist involved in the creative side of gaming content, you may need to consider registering trade marks for:

  • game titles;
  • characters;
  • logos; and
  • any other visual assets.

On the other hand, hardware manufacturers must use trade marks primarily for brand differentiation rather than to protect creative elements.

2. Develop a Comprehensive Trade Mark Registration Strategy 

Trade mark registration is the groundwork for brand protection. It provides a way to take action against any infringement or unauthorised use. However, crafting a comprehensive registration strategy requires some key considerations, including:

  • Distinctive branding: Distinctive branding is critical for standing out and capturing your target audience. All gaming companies must develop memorable trade marks that will resonate with their target audience.
  • Multi-class filing: Companies will operate across various goods and services classes. All gaming companies must be sure to cover all relevant classes of trade marks, which may include software, hardware and associated merchandise. 
  • International protection: Most games will go global due to the international reach of distribution platforms. This means gaming companies should consider international trade mark registration.
  • Proactive monitoring: You must keep in mind that trade mark registration is only the first step in brand protection. You must design and implement tools to find and respond to potential infringements post-registration. Such tools may include conducting regular searches to see what competitors are up to and whether this impedes your marks.
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3. Choose the Appropriate Trade Mark Classes 

Trade mark classes are essential in defining the scope of protection for your trade marks. New Zealand uses the Nice classification system. It is essential that you select the correct class when registering your trade marks. For example, some registered trade mark classes that may be relevant to a gaming company include:

  • Class 9: This class covers goods related to computer software, such as games and virtual and augmented reality technology.
  • Class 41: This class covers services for providing entertainment activities, among other things. As such, companies involved in the organisation and promotion of gaming tournaments or online communities may need to consider this class.
  • Class 28: This class covers games and toys. Gaming consoles or game-related merchandise may fall under this class.
  • Class 35: This class covers advertising and, business management services. As such, the distribution of gaming goods will fall under this class. 

4. Develop and Implement Effective Enforcement Strategies 

Enforcing your trade mark rights is critical for overcoming registered trade mark infringement. This then helps to protect the integrity of your brand. For example, you may need to consider the following enforcement strategies:

  • Cease and desist letters: Sending cease and desist letters to infringing parties can be a useful first step to resolving disputes and protecting your rights. Such a letter effectively requests that unauthorised use of your mark end before you pursue further legal action.
  • Legal action: Legal action will be required where your trade mark rights are repeatedly infringed or the infringement is particularly harmful. You must work closely with an intellectual property lawyer to ensure that you have strong grounds for legal action before taking measures.

5. Take Advantage of Your Trade Marks 

Trade marks can be useful tools for business growth beyond providing protection. Notably, trade marks confer upon you exclusive rights to the use of that mark. For example, trade marks can expand your brand via licensing initiatives. This might involve utilising licensing agreements for merchandise or other media adaptations for a gaming company. This is a great way to use the value of your trade marks to create an additional revenue stream. 

Further, you may collaborate with other brands to extend the reach of your gaming products and reach new audiences. However, such partnerships cannot occur without a strong trade mark portfolio enhancing your brand viability.

Finally, you can use your trade marks to gain a competitive advantage. A strong trade mark portfolio shows that you are committed to brand protection. Using your trade marks and consistently enforcing your rights communicates your dedication to protecting your brand. This ultimately builds trust amongst your consumers, strategic business partners and other stakeholders.

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Trade Mark Essentials in New Zealand

Our free Trade Mark Essentials in New Zealand guide explains how to register and defend your trade mark registration.

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Key Takeaways

The gaming industry is made up of a range of different stakeholders. However, the one commonality each industry player has is the need for brand protection via a trade mark. You must understand the purpose of trade marks. Further you must be across, how to register your trade marks effectively. Once your trade marks are registered, you must take full advantage of the benefits your trade marks provide. 

If you need help registering a trade mark for your gaming company, contact our experienced trade mark lawyers as part of our LegalVision membership. For a low monthly fee, you will have unlimited access to lawyers to answer your questions and draft and review your documents. Call us today on 0800 005 570 or visit our membership page.  

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Emily Young

Emily Young

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