The following is an edited transcript of my video Trademark Protection for eSports and Gamers
The world of gaming has come a long way since my Atari 2600 and my addiction to Donkey Kong and Adventure and other, at the time, seemingly amazing games. The graphics, sound, and depth of the stories compared to what is out there now obviously pales in comparison. But I’ve been following the world of gaming and eSports competitions for many years, and in fact, have been lucky enough to work with eSports teams and several gamers to protect their brands. And what always astonishes me when I’m working in their world of eSports is the number of brands that are not protected, and that’s what I want to talk briefly about today.
Did you realize that some of these professional gamers who stream their performances and work on Twitch or YouTube or other platforms have millions of followers, make money in endorsements, make money in advertising, make money selling merchandise, and more. That’s why it is shocking that many of them are not registered with the USPTO and protecting their trademarks. Some of them are, and kudos to them. For example, Summit1G is one of the most popular gamers out there, and they have many filings with the Patent and Trademark Office. Tfue, (T-F-U-E) also has many filings.
But a gamer that goes by Doctor Disrespect is said to have taken in approximately $6 million in revenue in 2021. Zero trademarks. Zero trademark protection in terms of registering and enhancing that protection. Another gamer, AuronPlay (A-U-R-O-N-P-L-A-Y), has 17 million followers on Instagram, more than 10 million on Twitch, sells apparel, and has no trademark registration. Pokimane, who, according to what I read, is the most popular female Twitch streamer of gaming, and has more than 30 million followers across different platforms, has no trademark registration for the Pokimane name. I could go on, but you get the point.
Some of these top gamers have taken steps to protect, but many have not. And just like any other endeavor that generates revenue, generates eyeballs, generates publicity, it is worth protecting. At the scale that these gamers are generating eyeballs and revenue, it is really alarming that they’re not protected. They are vulnerable assets. In the event that they have to go after infringers, domain names, social media handles, other people trying to profit off of their name, it’s not going to be as productive as it would be if the names were registered.
That is my cautionary tale for those gamers and eSports out there. If you’re involved in eSports or gaming and you want to talk to me about protecting your brand and your trademarks, you can always email me, connect with me on my website, or find me on social media.