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How to get a a car license / brand for your game (Tutorial)

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by TheLicenseGuy, Jan 26, 2021.

  1. TheLicenseGuy

    TheLicenseGuy

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    Hey Everyone,

    I saw plenty of threads some older and some newer ones about questions as of:

    “Can I use car brands xyz for my project?”
    “How can I get a permission to use car xyz?”
    “Does it cost anything?”

    And I feel like I finally wanted to share some light on this topic. Just short about myself I am working as an independent licensing consultant connecting video game developers with car brands. I have several main clients including game developers and OEM's.

    So let's go step by step:

    1. Can I use a real car brand for my project?

    Of course you can but you will need permission from the brand. The brand itself will ask questions like:
    How is the brand displayed in your project?
    Does the project or game feature violence?
    Is there a damage model for the vehicle?

    Now some will say - Can I just take a brand and change the logo a bit and replace some letters in the name and then I don't need permission?

    There are different protections we talk about.

    One is the logo and the brand name which is protected and the other one is the design of the model which is protected.

    So that favorite hatchback of yours will most likely have a design patent.

    Bonus question: But why there are so many games especially apps which still do that?

    Well the short answer is - because they are flying under the radar of the automotive brands. Sometime ago car brands barely understood the video game market. But times have changed and they are adapting and rather sooner than later the car brands will take more actions against that.


    Now to the next.

    2. How can I get a permission to use a car?

    You either know someone working at an automotive brand who can help you getting the right contact or you just try the usual way of info@“Insert car brand”.com

    3. Does it cost anything?

    The simple answer is - Yes it does.

    But there are cases where a car brand is agreeing on their brand being used for a project free of charge. Basically sponsoring your project with their free IP use. This kind of agreement usually only works out if your project is not supposed to be commercially.

    One example could be: You are taking care of a charity of delivering food to elderly and poor and you want to raise awareness for this program by developing a mini game where someone would drive packages from point a to b. So you would like to use a specific car brand for that. This could actually work - but it's just an example of what could work.

    But how much does it cost then?

    It depends on the case. Usually royalties or flat fees are agreed on depending on a financial forecast based on your project.

    I hope this helps and if someone has some extra questions or needs some help shoot me a dm.
     
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  2. MadeFromPolygons

    MadeFromPolygons

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    Thanks mate, this is actually a very useful first post - which is like seeing a unicorn in the wild here in the unity forums :D

    Glad to have you as part of the community!
     
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  3. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    Yeah although since nobody knows anything about the OP, the usual disclaimers apply, etc etc. These forums can be helpful but it's still a weird first post with a weird username, and anyone should ask those questions why someone would give up free time to brand and present this.

    *will 100% have a design patent etc etc

    Also I don't recommend anyone purchase or hire anyone from these forums when it comes to licensing or patents.
     
  4. Antypodish

    Antypodish

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    I was wondering, where is the link, or marketing part, of such first post. But it is just there on the very end. So I would be very careful and distant, as @hippocoder advised.
    Typical first post (spam), without proper introduction, what organisation person is presenting.
     
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  5. TheLicenseGuy

    TheLicenseGuy

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    Thanks a lot... Yeah I am not the usual Gamedev guy even though I do know my fair share about monetization, UI, UX etc... after working with game devs for a few years you pick up a few things here and there....

    Just sharing my knowledge... Thanks again for the pleasant first comment :)
     
  6. MDADigital

    MDADigital

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    Thats the opposite of understanding gaming dev. Firearms industry have much better adapted to the usage of their products in games. As an example Trijicon used our game for marketing that uses their products.

    https://www.facebook.com/trijicon/posts/2127635267252016
     
  7. TheLicenseGuy

    TheLicenseGuy

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    Interesting point...

    In that context I found the case about Humvee vs Activision super interesting: https://www.theverge.com/2020/4/1/2...e-call-of-duty-trademark-infringement-lawsuit

    However just using a brand without asking them will most likely burn bridges... I believe in your case you communicate with Trijicon? In that case I think it's pretty cool that they agreed on a brand awareness approach but that still depends on the brand itself.
     
  8. MDADigital

    MDADigital

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    No, but logo etc are changed. Thats basicly how all FPS games are doing it
     
  9. TheLicenseGuy

    TheLicenseGuy

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    Very interesting... I am only familiar with car brands and video games... However I know a couple guys who work with all kinds of brands... like aircraft's etc....... But thanks for the input MDA!
     
  10. MadeFromPolygons

    MadeFromPolygons

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    As others have pointed out you still have yet to produce anything even vaguely explaining who your company is etc, and as such I have to jump on the bandwagon and point out that anyone coming here should be super wary, and also that even if a company is provided nobody should be using forums to source this sort of help. Generally it would make sense to say who your company is and then anyone interested could get in contact via your company which obviously is the only way to tackle something like licensing - not over a forum anonymously.

    I really think if you are going to show up talking about knowing branding and how to help get brands to buy into your game etc, that you need something to back that up even if it just a company name for who you represent.

    This all started in a nice tone but I find it surprising that after the comments here you have not really responded in any way that would add credibility to what you are claiming... Otherwise its starting to smell a lot like spam/something disingenous I am afraid!

    Ofcourse maybe you are genuine and if so my sincerest apologies :) , but nothing here to say that is the case currently and its always best every gamedev here watches their back.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2021
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  11. TheLicenseGuy

    TheLicenseGuy

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    To be honest not posting the agencies and brands I am working with made it look for me more like sharing knowledge rather than a cold call sales pitch.... (however anyone can go ahead and contact a legal counsel obviously to check if their product would require a license or if it would pass fair use or artistic value...)

    I understand there is a lot of false advertisement and hopes etc outside... If someone really has the desire to work with car brands in his game feel free to shoot me a dm and hey maybe if the pandemic will finally pass we can meet for a beer or coffee at Gamescom or E3...
     
  12. Antypodish

    Antypodish

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    We are not asking what do you know at this point, as you already stated enough in the introduction, but who you are and what/who you are representing.

    If you are for example a janitor, why should I take a word for it? You should understand our stand point as well.
    Please comply with our requests for more details, if you want to promote your business.
    Assuming you have nothing to hide?
     
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  13. SparrowGS

    SparrowGS

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    Not true.
    You can consult your dog about it too but it won't hold any significance, the only time a fair use claim is determined is at court in front of a judge.(fact for the USA, Israel and a lot of the EU)

    The one thing I can think is possible to do is have the "guy" sign a contract that says if it is violating fair use he's responsible, but I don't see anyone doing it.
    Maybe if it's the head of the legal department for a company decision or something, but not just a freelanced lawer for sure.
     
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  14. MadeFromPolygons

    MadeFromPolygons

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    Im going to "nope out" at this point because its super suspect the length you are going to avoid saying who you represent. Good luck to you.
     
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  15. Joe-Censored

    Joe-Censored

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    This is a very good point which should be expanded upon. In US law, and probably the law of many other countries, Trademarks are required to be defended by the owner of the Trademark. If some little guy uses a Trademark without permission, it can seem like an evil act of vindictiveness for a big corporation to come crashing down on them. Unfortunately they have to. US law requires once a Trademark holder becomes aware of a Trademark violation, to put a stop to the violation. Failure to do so can be used to invalidate the Trademark.

    For example, you can freely use "M4 Carbine" in your shooting games today, because Colt lost the Trademark. When they tried to enforce the trademark against a competitor, the court found that it was so widely used without challenge to be considered a generic term. If they had been more aggressive and acted earlier, they may well have kept their Trademark.
     
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  16. SparrowGS

    SparrowGS

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  17. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

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    You mention that it will cost money, but you don't mention the other potential costs. They're not just going to ask about presentation and violence and damage or whatever they care about. There's a very real possibility they'll ask you to make changes, or just say "no".

    They're not just trying to protect their brand, they want it promoted. You need to be on brand for them.

    As an example, I read a while ago about an officially licensed racing franchise where the cars aren't allowed to flip upside down. The game's physics needed to be modified to ensure it couldn't happen. The license holder didn't want their events associated with spectacular crashes, so that was a part of getting access to the license.

    There's probably also going to be a bunch of non-disclosure stuff. I wouldn't want an international brand I'd invested millions into to be associated with some small fry, high-risk studio. So don't bank on being able to use it to market your game unless you have a solid track record, are nearly to market anyway, or just get lucky.
     
  18. TheLicenseGuy

    TheLicenseGuy

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    Thanks Sparrows

    Thanks a lot! Definitely saved those videos.
     
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