I wish to make a commercial PC video game based on the British commando units from 1940s that have been disbanded in 1946.

The unit is "No.3 commando".

Is the use of names like no.3 and commando permitted in the name and other text in a video game? Same goes for insignia.

In case it requires special permission, which institution should I contact to seek the said permission, since I'm not a UK citizen?

I have heard about crown copyright that expires after 50 years but haven't been able to find enough information pertaining to commercial uses.

Just for reference, an existing game that uses such names and markings is "commandos behind enemy lines."

  • A name would not be covered by copyright, but by trademarks (assuming the name of military units is covered at all). Otherwise, you could probably syst labeling your products as Coca-Cola, Mercedes...
    – SJuan76
    Commented Dec 1, 2020 at 9:52
  • @SJuan76 what is syst labelling?
    – Allahjane
    Commented Dec 1, 2020 at 10:17
  • Oh, I was writting from my phone. It should have been "you could probably start labeling your products as..."
    – SJuan76
    Commented Dec 1, 2020 at 10:22

1 Answer 1


The names of such units are not protected by copyright, and never were. However their insignia would have been under Crown copyright See also Ministry of Defence Crown Copyright Licensing Information.

Crown Copyright expires after 50 years for all published works, but lasts for 125 years after creation for unpublished works. Works obtained through archives, such as the Imperial War Museum, are often considered unpublished, unless they were previously published in some form. Use of an insignia on a uniform may not constitute publication.

Some UK military insignia, including most current insignia, is also protected by trademark. But if the insignia are not used to advertise a product, nor to identify a product, nor in such a way as to imply sponsorship, endorsement or approval, trademark protection would not apply. In any case it is not at all clear that WWII-era insignia of now-defunct units are currently protected by trademark in the UK.

If an insignia is still under copyright or trademark, the above linked licensing information describes how to apply for a license. Free licenses are available in some cases for use in books, but not, apparently, for "commercial products".

  • +1 despite not being able to open your links on my phone :(
    – user35069
    Commented Dec 1, 2020 at 23:39
  • @Rick Ape They were easily found by me on google, and should be easy to find in a simple search. Commented Dec 1, 2020 at 23:42

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