Wouldn't think so.
There was also an indie game a few years ago called Time Command.
I'd like to use the name "Time Commander" for the game I'm designing. I've googled it to see who's toes I'd be stepping on, and to get a feel for any legal headaches it may cause me. Here's what I came up with.
First, two physical devices. A vintage LED watch, and a discontinued home-automation device. I'm not too concerned about either of these, since they're physical devices, neither of which is still in production.
Next, there was a minor DC Comics villain (only showed up in a couple stories), who performed his evil deeds by using high-tech devices to manipulate time. I'm a little concerned about this one. My game features a main character who uses technology to manipulate time, and it's a in a retro sci-fi setting. But my character's name is not "Time Commander" (like the DC Comics villain). And he's the hero, not the villain. And the player controls (and manipulates time with) the hero's ship, not the hero himself, so it would bear no resemblence to the DC Comics stories.
Next, there's a BBC television gameshow called "Time Commanders" (plural), where contestants play historical scenarios in the game "Total War". This one also concerns me, since it's a pretty high-profile computer game that they're playing (although the game itself is not called "Time Commanders").
Finally, of course, there's the similarity to the name of the older popular video game "Time Commando". I wouldn't think this should cause me trouble, since it's a different word, and my game will bear no resemblence to "Time Commando" in any sense (completely different concept, gameplay, genre, story, setting, etc.). So it will be obvious that it's not an attempt to clone "Time Commando". Still, that was a pretty widely published game, so I guess I shouldn't underestimate the pettiness of anyone's lawyers.
So what are people's opinions? Am I asking for trouble if I use this name?
While I am no lawyer, I recently attended a seminar that discussed the recent increase in tradename litigation.
Odds are this probably applies to this subject.
In order for you to be breaking the US law your game would have to create confusion between yours and the similar product.
For instance, Playdoh sued Fundoh for tradename infringement because they claimed that play and fun were semantically so similar that it would lead to confusion (I don't recall who won that).
So, actually of the ones listed the one I would be MOST concerned about is Time Commando because its in the same industry and may lead to confusement on behalf of the gamer. I wouldn't be too worried, but you should probably avoid practices that would make you look like you were trying to use their brand equity to your advantage
IE: Setting up a google adwords campaign and using Time Commando as one of your keywords. Using "Time Commando" in your website to get a higher rating for that keyword. Advertising on Time Commando related websites (if such a website even exists).
There's my 2 cents. Very interesting seminar. Pro of living in a college town still... totally free :-)
While on the subject of names, trademarks, and copyright...
Buried deep in my list of projects to work on someday, maybe, is an anime RPG. I turn over words in my head trying to put together a possible name for it, and run searches on them to see what's already on the web. One of the obvious things that came to mind was 'Princess Knight'. Turns out this name is one of the names assigned to the English-dubbed version (it's not the original name) of a really old anime that came out in the 60's (70's in English). It's therefore slightly obscure and not, as far as I can tell, readily available for sale. (The manga version was reprinted in a bilingual edition fairly recently but is STILL hard to find, as best as I can tell.)
It's an anime and not a game, but it would be definitely appealing to the same fanbase. It's obscure to the average person, but to a historian of the genre it's famous as the *first* title aimed at girls. No one who was familiar with the original would confuse any game I made with that original, but someone who had only heard the NAME of the original or knew only that it was about a girl hero might think they were related. Would I be in trouble if I tried to use that name?
Since your gut feeling is that there might be a problem, were there other names you were considering with less Google hits?Originally Posted by Martoon
My opinion is that, if you think there's the potential for a problem, either a lawsuit (valid or not), or customer confusion, or anything else, use something else where you can be as sure as you can be that there will be no problems. I don't think a name for a product you haven't completed yet, is worth the potential headaches while you still have a chance to change the name.
Good points. It's still in very early conceptual stages, but I need a working title to give it an identity in my own mind. For now, I'll stick with "Time Commander", and see if I come up with something else as it gets fleshed out.
At the risk of being obvious, how about "Commander of Time".
"Commander of Time" is the perfect title to choose if you want everyone who sees it to say "wouldn't Time Commander sound better?"
A slave to the ideal