I am developing a game, and will be using guns in my game, I just am unsure of a few things. From what I understand, I need written permission to use the name of a gun due to the name being IP, but what about the gun's actual design? If I were to recreate a gun to give it the same 'Look', would infringing upon IP even be something to worry about?

Edit: I am not looking for a way to rip-off someone's IP, just for information so that I can get some guns designed, I am not full of ideas for what they should look like, so I'd like to base the design off of real guns.


While a gun's appearance can have protection under "Trade Dress," in addition to having design patent protection, at least one video game has been found in court to have "fair use" protection for trade dress: See E.S.S. Entertainment 2000, Inc. v. Rock Star Videos, Inc., et al..

However, to determine the legality of a specific use of intellectual property you would have to consult a competent lawyer.

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    Notably, in that case, the use was protected due to artistic relevance to the game (it was part of Rockstar's satirical commentary on Los Angeles), plus the fact that no one would assume the strip club was behind that part of the game or supported it. Use of a gun's design could be treated differently, depending on the specific details of the case. – cpast Jun 30 '15 at 20:02

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