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Trademark and copyright protection

April 14, 2014

1. How may I report an infringement of my intellectual property rights within a Windows Phone app?

Please use the following form to submit a copyright, trademark or publicity rights infringement complaint on a Windows Phone app. For copyright, trademark or publicity rights infringements complaints across multiple apps, please submit your request to mktlegal@microsoft.com. If you need additional info about Microsoft’s DMCA policy, please visit: http://www.microsoft.com/info/cpyrtInfrg.aspx.

2. I created my app to work with a Microsoft product/service. May I use the Microsoft product/service name in the name of my app?

Microsoft strongly prefers that you do not. But if there is a clear business necessity, you may do so if you follow these guidelines:

  • The name of your app should not begin with the Microsoft product or service name at issue. For example, "Xbox Points Calculator" should not be used as an app name. "Bob’s Points Calculator for Xbox" is a better name. This makes it clear that the app is not distributed by Microsoft.

  • Use language that explains that your app was designed to work in conjunction with a Microsoft product or service. For example, "works with," "for," "designed for," and "optimized for" are all acceptable terms to explain that your product is designed to work in conjunction with a Microsoft product or service. Use of terms such as "certified," "official," "authentic," and "licensed" imply legal affiliation or overt endorsement and thus must not be used absent a formal trademark license agreement with Microsoft. Such agreements are typically not available in this context.

  • Use the Microsoft product/service name only in plain text. Do not use any fancy fonts or accompanying graphics.

For more information, see General Microsoft Trademark Guidelines.

3. Is it OK if I use the trademarked name or logo of another company in the title of my app or as part of the content of my app?

You need to consult your own trademark counsel about the use of a trademarked name or logo of another company. However, Microsoft will take apps off the Store upon proper notice from trademark owners regarding misuse of their trademarks. Accordingly, we strongly urge you to exercise adequate due diligence.

For more information, see U.S. Patent and Trademark Office: Trademark Basics.

4. May I use Microsoft’s graphical trademarks (logos), such as the WINDOWS FLAG logo, in my app?

No. Microsoft allows third parties to use its trademarked logos only via formal license. Such a license is typically not available in this context.

For more information, see U.S.Patent and Trademark Office: Trademark Basics or download U.S. Copyright Office: Copyright Basics.

5. Do I need to use registered ® or trademark ™ symbols when I refer to a Microsoft trademark in my app? And must I, when using a Microsoft trademark, place a trademark attribution notice in my app, for example, "Microsoft is a registered trademark of the Microsoft Corporation"?

There is no legal requirement that you include these symbols or the attribution notice, but Microsoft would greatly appreciate it if you do.

6. Is it OK if I make a game that is identical to someone else’s game as long as I change the name?

No, not without permission. While copyright does not protect the idea of a game, it does protect original expression in a game, such as original audiovisual elements, graphics, sounds, characters, and so on, and the original selection and arrangement of these elements. A game that is too similar to someone else’s game could subject you to a claim of copyright infringement. Microsoft cannot give advice on this issue, and you may need to consult your own lawyer if you are unsure about whether your game is too similar.

For more information, download U.S. Copyright Office: Copyright Basics.

7. What should I do if I get a notice from Microsoft telling me it has received a complaint that my app infringes a trademark or copyright?

Read the notice from Microsoft carefully, and follow the instructions. The notice from Microsoft may include specific steps you may follow to inform us what you have done to correct the problem, that you disagree with the claimant, and/or that you want to resubmit your app to the Store.

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