Don’t create a game with Ville in the name

A ville
Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

Well not if you live in the EU. I came up with Glitzville back in 2002. It doesn’t sound too bad. However, if you do a search of the European Trade mark database for the word Ville, you’ll find EU009774613 a trademark on the word Ville in three classes of trademarks. Classes 9 and 41 between them cover virtually any use in software, games, electronic devices and online. While class 25 covers t-shirts and other items of clothing.

The long and the short of it, if you live in Europe and want to sell a game that ends in ville or even do t-shirts and other merchandise, forget it; you’ll likely get sued thanks to Zynga, creator of games like FarmVille etc.

I had registered the domain years before 2011 the year when this trademark was taken out. I wasn’t the first to use it, as back in 2004, in the game Paper Mario there’s a city of that name. See Glitzville but it didn’t become a problem until Zynga came along. So  has Zynga ever sued anybody? Most certainly, for instance here’s a case from 2012.

For most small publishers, the chances are that your game/app name will not get you into legal trouble but it’s probably worth a bit of checking just in case. And trademark violations (unlike copyright ) have some seriously big fines with them- possibly tens of (£)thousands.