GameCatalog.org includes information on around 50 U.S. game trademarks.
U.S. trademarks are categorized using two classification schemes: U.S. and international. Word marks for games are generally classified under the following classes:
- U.S. Class 22: Games, toys, and sporting goods
- International Class 28: Games, toys, and playthings; video game apparatus; gymnastic and sporting articles; and decorations for Christmas trees
A registered trademark is denoted by any of the following markings, or similar:
- Registered Trademark
- Reg. U.S. Pat. Off.
- Reg. U.S. Pat. & TM Off.
Some early games may be marked “TRADE MARK” or “TRADE-MARK” and be either registered or unregistered trademarks.
The use of the ™ symbol denotes an unregistered trademark, which means it was not submitted to nor accepted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
The use of the ℠ symbol denotes an unregistered service mark, which means it was not submitted to nor accepted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
U.S. Trademark Resources Online
All U.S. trademarks are online at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, where they can be searched using its quirky search engines, Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) and Trademark Status and Document Retrieval (TSDR).
TESS search engine – basic search
- Go to TESS’s Word and/or Design Mark Search (Structured)
- In the first Search Term box, enter a game name. Wildcards (“*” and sometimes “$”) work
- (Optional, may reduce the number of irrelevant search results) In the first Field box, select “Basic Index (combined MP, PM, MN)” from the pull-down menu
- Click the “Submit Query” button
- If you get a list of multiple results, click on either the Serial Number, Reg. Number, or Word Mark to bring up a web page with details for the trademark
- Note the three (or more) dates provided:
- Filing Date: when the trademark application was received by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
- Registration Date: when the trademark was approved by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
- First Use date (part of the Goods and Services field): the date the owner states that the mark was first used
- Renewal: TESS lists the most recent renewal date; earlier dates may be found by using TSDR
TSDR—Link from TESS
- From TESS, you can click on the TSDR link or button to see additional information about the trademark, including images
- The TSDR results page has three tabs: Status, Documents, and Maintenance
- Click on the Documents tab
- Documents associated with the trademark are listed in descending order by date. Click on Registration Certificate to see a digitized image of the original printed trademark
TESS Search Engine—Advanced Search
- Go to TESS’s Word and/or Design Mark Search (Free Form)
- Click on the Help button to see the (complicated) search syntax
- Example 1: in the Search Term box, enter (including the quotes): “Rich Uncle”[bi] This will search for trademark word marks (the phrase granted the trademark) that match “Rich Uncle” with implicit wildcards both before and after.
- Example 2: In the Search Term box, enter (including the quotes): “022”[us] and `rd > 19000000 < 19400000
This will search for trademarks in U.S. Class 22 (toys, games, etc.) with a registration date between 1900 and 1940
- Example 3: In the Search Term box, enter: game[gs] and `rd >19400000 < 19600000
This will search for trademarks with “game” in the Goods and Services attribute, which is a short statement describing the item, between 1940 and 1960. The symbol (`) before rd is a backquote. For example, the Goods and Services attribute for the 1935 Monopoly game trademark is:
- BOARD GAME PLAYED WITH MOVABLE PIECES
- Example 4: in the Search Term box, enter (including the quotes): “022”[us] and 1954$[rd] This will search for trademarks in U.S. Class 22 that were registered during 1954
- Example 5: in the Search Term box, enter (including the quotes): “Avalon Hill”[on] This will search for trademarks with “Avalon Hill” in the owner name field
- Then follow steps 4 and up for the TESS basic search above
TSDR Search Engine
You can also search TSDR directly, though it only accepts the US trademark serial number or registration number. Typically these are not known, and so the TESS search engine should be used. Note that older serial numbers (printed on the digitized trademark page shown by TSDR) have had digits prepended to them, or entirely changed. For example, the 1935 Monopoly trademark now has serial number 71363230 whereas it originally was 363230.
Commercial Search Engines
- Trademarkia.com has a search engine that is easier to use to search for trademark words, but doesn’t provide advanced searches for free. Also, some trademarks that can be found using TESS and TSDR cannot be found on Trademarkia.com
- Marcaria.com has a search engine that is easier to use to search for trademark words, For search results with U.S. trademarks, Marcaria links to the TSDR page where details can be examined.
U.K. Trademark Resources Online
- Great Britain’s trademark search page
Worldwide Trademark Resources Online
- Marcaria.com has a search engine that can search for trademarks in a variety of countries.