I was asked recently about how to register the name of someone's project. Should they obtain a trademark, or is there some other (cheaper) way to register the title?
While technically you can't trademark a title, you'd be foolish to call your project "Star Wars". That's just inviting trouble. Don't do it. Not a smart move.
I have in the past, gone the trademark route. I came up with a kids toy - based on WWII spy technology. I registered the name "Spy Gear". When the toy manufacturing deal fell through, I was immediately contacted by Wild Planet Toys. They wanted to buy the name. The offer was very generous - but it was a "carrot or stick" situation. The lawyer said that if I didn't take the deal, they'd use the name anyway - and it would be up to me to sue them. That would be a long and expensive process. I took the deal, sold the name - and when you see SPY GEAR toys at Toys R Us - you'll know that I came up with the name. And they had to sell a LOT of toys just to pay for it.
Funny thing - they were very nice until I signed over the trademark and dot-com. Then I never heard from my new "best pals" ever again. I feel so cheap and used...
Cheaper and more effective than a trademark registration are - Domain Names. Get your own dot-com. It's cheap, its easy, its fast - and if you own "www.spygeartoys.com", they'll have to deal with you.
You don't have to build a site. You can register the name through a domain registry. It'll probably cost you about $15 for the year. ONE THING TO KEEP IN MIND -- VERY IMPORTANT!!!!!
Let's assume that you have a cool name for your project. I'm not even going to guess what it is. But you've Googled it and it doesn't come up. Chances are, its available. Whatever you do, DON'T type "www.Your Cool Name Goes Here.com" into your browser window, over and over - while you think about registering the name. Why not? Because a domain registry will grab the name and sit on it. You'll either have to BUY the domain name back from the bastards (expensive) or... find another domain name. Type in the name - and register it. It's only $15 so just do it!
Also - go for ".com". The registries offer all sorts of wimpy alternatives, like ".net", ".org" or even ".tv"- but baby, those are second place. You want ".com".
Been there. Done that. Learn from my mistake.