The latest IP case coming from the Star Wars and Disney worlds (who have brought us many) reminds us that you can own trademarks that started in fictional worlds. This is important for game developers who seek trademark protection for new game tokens, characters, or logos.
This case is also a reminder of the limits of the Rogers cases. The Rogers cases say that a game developer can use a third party's trademark in its game if it is not explicitly misleading. So if the character in the game is drinking a soda, you can may be able to use the Coke mark. But a game developer should not claim that it owns the third party's mark. And it should be careful to not suggest some association with the third party.
Citing rulings that extended trademark protection to “Kryptonite” and “Hobbit” — and one recent decision on "SpongeBob SquarePants" — Judge Richard Seeborg said Tuesday that courts have “long held that fictional elements of expressive works can function as trademarks.”