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Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: Law
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Experience:  Partner in national law firm
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Can I use the title of a TV programme eg. Topgear, in a game

Customer Question

Can I use the title of a TV programme eg. Topgear, in a game that will be sold to the public
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alice H replied 3 years ago.
Hello and welcome to Just Answer.

My name is Alex and I'm happy to help with your question today.

The BBC website states: "The Top Gear word mark and logo are trademarks of the BBC".

Use of the words Top Gear could amount to copyright or trademark infringement especially if, for example, the game in question is based on cars or racing.

Its noteworthy that Top Gear also has its own gaming area on the website.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

So would this apply if the mention was not related to cars or racing?

Expert:  Alice H replied 3 years ago.
Hi

Its arguable.

What I will do is set out what constitutes infringement and defences which should help. Please give me a few hours to write this up for you.

Alex
Expert:  Alice H replied 3 years ago.
Good morning.

Thanks for your patience. I'm setting out some further guidance for you below as promised:

If you use the name "Top Gear" for your business the BBC could make a claim against for trademark infringement. The BBC has to prove the mark belongs to them and entitled to protection; and that you used the same or a similar mark in business in connection with the sale or advertising of goods or services without their consent. Also, very importantly, they must show your use of the mark is likely to cause confusion with their own activities.

So, the BBC would have to prove use, business activity and confusion to establish a trademark infringment claim.

If your gaming business is not to do with cars or racing and is very different from the Top Gear that we see on television then you may have a defence to any claim by the BBC. You could also argue that the public will not be confused by the use of the name if your activities are quite different to theirs e.g. nothing to do with cars, not television broadcasting, no reference to Clarkson, Hammond etc.

So, you could use the name so long as your activities are different to the BBC and the public will not be caused any confusion. If you're careful about your use of the name, you should be fine but beware that the BBC may get in touch once your business goes live.

Please remember to rate my answer. Happy to discuss further.


Alex

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