Can a writer/author write a novel about a fictional Dota (or any other video game) player, mentioning the game's name and possibly names of the fictional characters of the game? Would this be trademark infringement (requiring the game's name to be changed)?

1 Answer 1


Under US law: It depends, but it is likely legal.

Trademark is designed to prevent confusion in consumers, to avoid someone's good work and reputation from being taken advantage of by another, and/or damaged by another's poor work/service.

The game's name and character names are (generally) not trademarked, nor are they copyrightable. Even if they were, there is nominative fair use to consider as a defense.

There are still some legal issues that might occur (e.g. this does not apply to the novel's name; using the game's logo on cover art might constitute trademark violation if it was so positioned as to be associating a relationship with the game publisher, descriptions of the game's content, especially story content, is a bit hazy), but not with using the game name or character names.

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