EA Withdraws Ghost Trademark After Dispute With Ubisoft

Ghost Games, formally known as EA Gothenburg, is a video game developer based in Sweden and Romania. The studio is composed of 80 percent of the employees from iconic British company Criterion Games and produces the latest entries in the Need for Speed franchise. EA filed two trademarks for the term ‘Ghost’ (US Serial No. 86/568,852 and 86/568,854) upon its initial formation. However, Ubisoft wasn’t pleased by this move, and decided to launch a complaint in September last year. Only now, the lawsuit has come into effect, and Ubisoft claims the term ‘Ghost’ will be damaging to their business. The company provided a long list of reasons why they object to EA’s Ghost trademarks which reads:

“NOTICE OF OPPOSITION

Ubisoft Entertainment, a French corporation having a principal place of business at 107
Avenue Henri Freville, Rennes, France, and Ubisoft, Inc. (“Ubisoft”), a California corporation
having a principal place of business at 625 Third Street, San Francisco, California 94107, believe
they will be damaged by registration of the mark shown in Application Serial Nos. 86/568,852
and 86/568,854 (the “Applications”) and hereby oppose the same pursuant to the provisions of
15 U.S.C. § 1063. Ubisoft Entertainment and Ubisoft are collectively referred to as “Opposers.”

The grounds for opposition are as follows:

1. Opposer Ubisoft Entertainment is the parent company of Ubisoft. Therefore,
privity exists between Opposers. Both Ubisoft Entertainment and Ubisoft are video game
developers and publishers and also sell various products and services related to their video games
and entertainment services.

2. Since at least as early as 2001, Ubisoft has used the trademark GHOST RECON
in connection with video games and entertainment services in the nature of online video and
computer games. In addition to its longstanding common law trademark rights, Ubisoft owns
several incontestable federal registrations for marks comprising or containing the distinctive
GHOST RECON trademark, including the following trademarks:

[Several Ghost Recon trademarks listed in the filing omitted from here, check the link]

3. Ubisoft Entertainment also owns several federal registrations for marks
comprising or containing the distinctive GHOST RECON trademark, including the following
trademarks:

[Several Ghost Recon trademarks listed in the filing omitted from here, check the link]

Collectively, the marks that set forth in Paragraphs 2 and 3 are referred to as the GHOST
RECON marks.

4. Notwithstanding Ubisoft Entertainment’s and Ubisoft’s prior rights in the
GHOST RECON mark, on March 18, 2015, applicant Electronic Arts Inc. (“Applicant”) filed
two intent-to-use applications seeking to register the mark GHOST (“Applicant’s Mark”): one
was filed in connection with “Computer game software; Downloadable computer game software
via a global computer network and wireless devices; Video game software” in International
Class 9, which was designated 86/568,854, and the other one was filed in connection with
“Entertainment services, namely, providing an on-line computer game; Provision of information
relating to electronic computer games provided via the Internet” in International Class 41, which
was designated 86/568,852.

5. The Applications were published for opposition on August 4, 2015. Ubisoft
sought, and was granted, two extensions of time to oppose the Applications: one on September 2,
2015 and one on November 30, 2015. As a result, Opposers have until January 31, 2016 to
oppose the Application. Therefore, this Notice of Opposition is timely filed.

6. Opposers began using its GHOST RECON marks in connection with video games
and entertainment services long before Applicant filed the Applications on March 18, 2015 and
long before Applicant’s November 19, 2013 claimed date of first use.

7. Opposers’ common law and statutory priority dates precede the filing date of the
Application and, upon information and belief, any priority date upon which Applicant may rely.

8. Opposers have priority over Applicant.

9. Prior to filing the Applications, Applicant had constructive knowledge of
Opposers’ GHOST RECON marks given Opposers’ federal registrations set forth above.

10. The goods and services identified in the Applications, namely “Computer game
software; Downloadable computer game software via a global computer network and wireless
devices; Video game software” and “Entertainment services, namely, providing an on-line
computer game; Provision of information relating to electronic computer games provided via the
Internet” are identical and highly related to the goods and services offered by Opposers in
connection with the GHOST RECON marks.

11. Upon information and belief, Applicant intends to market the goods and services
identified in the Applications to the same consumers who purchase the goods and services
offered by the Opposers under the GHOST RECON marks.

12. Applicant’s proposed mark GHOST mark is nearly identical to the GHOST
RECON marks used and owned by Opposers.

13. Applicant’s Mark so resembles Opposers’ GHOST RECON marks alleged herein
as to be likely, when used in connection with the goods and services identified in the
Applications, to cause confusion, to cause mistake, or to deceive. Consumers are likely to
believe, mistakenly, that the goods and services Applicant offers under Applicant’s Mark are
provided, sponsored, endorsed, or approved by Opposers, or are in some way affiliated,
connected, or associated with Opposers, all to the detriment of Opposers. Registration of
Applicant’s Mark, therefore, should be refused under 15 U.S.C. §§ 1052(d) and 1063.

14. Registration of Applicant’s Mark would be a further source of damage to
Opposers, as it would confer upon Applicant various statutory presumptions to which it is not
entitled in view of Opposers’ long prior use of the GHOST RECON marks.”

In response to this opposition and the threat of legal action, EA has withdrawn their initial application. Here we can see the documentation which outlines the course of events:

This is an absurd situation and the dispute revolves around Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon brand, which they believe would be negatively impacted by EA’s trademarks. Clearly, Ubisoft isn’t doing themselves any favours, especially when the company could be taken over by Vivendi. EA should have the right to trademark a studio they created without dealing with frivolous lawsuits. Perhaps, publishers should work on creating enriching experiences instead of being embroiled in stupid legal action.

Image courtesy of Collider.

Kodi Developers Speak out about Piracy Box Sellers

The developers behind Kodi, the free, open source media player software formerly known as XBMC, are taking a stand against profiteers who are selling modified versions of its product as so-called “piracy boxes”. In the past, Team Kodi has always remained neutral on its software being used to illegally access copyrighted content – the developers believe that users should have the freedom to use and modify the software to suit their needs – while making clear that it does not endorse such practices. Now, though, the team has had enough of its name being dragged through the mud by sellers of “piracy boxes” using the Kodi brand, railing against the practice in a recent blog screed.

“There have been a wave of sellers who decided to make a quick buck modifying Kodi, installing broken piracy add-ons, advertising that Kodi let’s [sic] you watch free movies and TV, and then vanishing when the user buys the box and finds out that the add-on they were sold on was a crummy, constantly breaking mess,” the Kodi blog post reads. “These sellers are dragging users into the world of piracy without their knowledge and at the same time convincing new users that Kodi is a buggy mess, because they never differentiate Kodi from 3rd party add-ons. Every day a new user shows up on the Kodi forum, totally unaware that the free movies they’re watching have been pirated and surprised to discover that Kodi itself isn’t providing those movies.”

“Team Kodi is officially tired of this,” the post continues. “We are tired of new users coming into the forum, asking why the box that “we” sold them was broken. We are tired of this endless campaign by dishonest salesmen to push a single use of Kodi that nobody on the team actually recommends. We are tired of these salesmen lying to users, claiming that pirate streams and pirate boxes are “legal” when they are absolutely not at some level or other. We are tired of being told by companies that they don’t want to work with us, because we are selling pirate boxes. Being removed from an App Store this summer because of the campaigning of others was like a slap in the face. Most of all, we are tired of a thousand different salesmen and Youtubers making money off ruining our name.”

“It’s gotten bad enough that core Kodi developers have threatened to quit in protest,” Team Kodi adds.

In order to combat the rise of “piracy boxes” using the Kodi name, the team will now use ownership of the Kodi trademark to take legal action against anyone selling systems which includes its media player software: “[W]e will issue trademark takedown notices anywhere we think the likelihood for confusion is high. If you are selling a box on your website designed to trick users into thinking broken add-ons come from us and work perfectly, so you can make a buck, we’re going to do everything we can to stop you. If you are making a video in which you claim to be a Kodi developer or Kodi team member or you are just using the Kodi name while assuring users that some pirate add-on is totally legal and isn’t going to break next week, we will do everything we can to take you down.”

Team Kodi concludes the post by asking for help from the Kodi community: “If you see somebody selling a box that’s “fully loaded” or comes with the phrase “Free movies and TV with Kodi,” please, ask them to stop. And let us know.”

The Fine Brothers Rescind “React” Trademarks

The Fine Brothers is an incredibly popular YouTube channel with almost 14 million subscribers and gained popularity with a series of “react” videos. The concept is quite simple and revolves around of the idea of filming people’s reactions to viral videos, old technology and film trailers. Unbelievably, brothers Benny and Rafi Fine caused outrage by trying to trademark the word ‘react’. Not only that, they had the nerve to launch content ID claims against people making react style videos without their approval via the ‘React World’ license. Rightfully, people voiced their disgust and couldn’t believe the duo’s egotistical behaviour. Thankfully, after a great deal of media scrutiny and public disdain, the brothers have decided to release an official statement which reads:

“Hello,

We’re here to apologize.

We realize we built a system that could easily be used for wrong. We are fixing that. The reality that trademarks like these could be used to theoretically give companies (including ours) the power to police and control online video is a valid concern, and though we can assert our intentions are pure, there’s no way to prove them.

We have decided to do the following:

1. Rescind all of our “React” trademarks and applications.*

2. Discontinue the React World program.

3. Release all past Content ID claims.**

The concerns people have about React World are understandable, and that people see a link between that and our past video takedowns, but those were mistakes from an earlier time. It makes perfect sense for people to distrust our motives here, but we are confident that our actions will speak louder than these words moving forward.

This has been a hard week. Our plan is to keep making great content with the help of our amazing staff. Thank you for your time and for hearing us out.

Sincerely,

Benny and Rafi Fine

*This includes “React,” “Kids React,” “Elders React,” “Lyric Breakdown,” etc. Please note: It takes a while for the databases to update, but the necessary paperwork has been filed.

**Content ID is YouTube’s copyright system that automatically flags content that looks like or sounds like copyrighted content. This mostly flags videos that are direct re-uploads of our videos (which is what the system is built for), but if you know of a video that has been claimed or removed incorrectly, please email us with “false claim” in the subject line.”

Clearly, this is just damage control after seeing the hatred directed at the Fine Brothers. Either they’re stupid for not expecting this or so arrogant that they honestly believed it was possible to trademark a word in the English language.

Palm Brand Sold Off By HP – New Smartphones on the Way?

Go to Palm.com right now and you’ll see the message above. After that address stopped directing people to hpwebos.com it started going to mynewpalm.com suggesting that something interesting was happening behind the scenes.

It was later discovered that HP had sold off the Palm trademarks to a company called Wide Progress Global Limited – a company supposedly linked to Alcatel One Touch, which is in turn owned by Chinese smartphone company  TCL Corporation. As ArsTechnica says, this move could be seen as TCL’s attempt to break into the US smartphone market under a well-known brand. This all leads people to believe that we’ll see a Palm comeback in some form or another.

Palm is famous for dominating the PDA market that pre-dated smartphones, with its popular Palm Pilot. However, with the advent of smartphones, Palm’s PDA business faltered and they ended up falling behind the new surprise market leaders (Apple and Google). Palm was in turn bought by HP and with the use of the WebOS, they tried to rejuvenate a once leading brand.

As we all know now, that failed, and it’ll be interesting to see what is made of this attempt by a different company.

Source: ArsTechnica

Sony Trademarks New PlayStation Logo

Sony has filed registration for a curious new PlayStation logo with the Japanese Patent and Trademark Office. It incorporates the familiar ‘PS’ motif within a circle, flanked by a set of headphones.

The trademark notice reads as follows:

[Serial Number 2014-93301]
Trademark: [Image]
Applicant: Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.
Filing date: November 6, 2014
Classification: 9 (electronic applications, machinery and other parts thereof), 38 (telecommunications etc.), 41

Judging by the classification numbers, the logo is certainly gaming-related, rather than, say, some form of audio streaming service, since class 9 relate to games and class 41 denotes online games.

Sony has not released any information about the trademark.

Source: DualSHOCKERS

Samsung Sued Over Milk Music App

Samsung have been hit with a lawsuit, over its Milk Music app, from multimedia company Milk Studios. The lawsuit, filed on Monday at the US District Court of the Southern District or New York, alleges that Samsung’s Milk Music has “intentionally, wilfully and knowingly” violated Milk Studio’s trademark.

Milk Studios, formed 15 years ago with offices in New York and Los Angeles, has a history with Samsung, having engaged in 18 unique partnerships with them, according to the lawsuit. Milk Studios formally requested that Samsung stop using the ‘Milk’ name back in March when the app was released for Samsung’s Android platforms, but Samsung refused. Samsung last week released a second video app, carrying a similar name, Milk Video.

Milk Studios is seeking an undisclosed amount of damages. Samsung is yet to comment on the lawsuit.

Source: Android Central

The word iPhone becomes banned in Mexico after trademark ruling

We hear enough these days about how Apple is taking on Samsung for the nth reason yet again, but over the last few months there has been another case brewing with Apple, but this time it is against them. In Mexico, a company known as iFone S.A. de C.V. registered their name way back in 2003, where their business model is to provide bespoke services to call centres and businesses. The key fact here is that Apple did not register their mobile handset; the iPhone until later in 2007.

All around the world, the word iPhone is close to a household name and whilst there are a few small time spin offs, particularly in China, for the most part it is what it is. This can’t be said for Mexico however as iFone S.A. de C.V. have been upholding their case with the Mexican Intellectual Property Agency, urging them to ban the later Apple name due to the fact that it is pronounced in the exact same way and therefore there is no way to distinguish between the two.

After months of debate and arguments flowing around the table, last Thursday a ruling was settled in favor of iFone, meaning that mobile phone carriers are no longer allowed to use the work iPhone in any of their contracts or advertisements and to rub salt into the wounds, each carrier has to pay a fine of $104,000 – even though they were not the ones who decided on the name, they simply act as a third-party that sells the products.

Whilst the ban is effective as of now, Apple are allowed to set an appeal to the ruling, in hope that they can once again have the word in circulation, however the chance of this happening is as much as that of Apple themselves not suing someone else in the future and if that was not enough, there is word that the Mexican firm could meet Apple in the courts, where they would sue them for anything up to an estimated $1.5B.

Considering this is not the first time that the word iPhone has landed an argument over who has the rightful ownership over it, whilst Apple may have made the word a household name, perhaps finding a more local alternative such as iTeléfono may be more appropriate – there’s no mistaking between the two that way – they’re phonetically different so surely that would be acceptable? Time will tell I guess.

Source: Fudzilla, Image courtesy nixsense.net

King.com Clones Scamperghost And Infringes Namco’s Pac-Man With Pac-Avoid?

Candy Crush maker King.com, known for its ‘pay-to-win’ casual games style approach, is apparently taking it too far when it comes to legal trademarks. Recently, King started the process of claiming the generic title ‘Saga’, having attacked rival Sonic with its legal threats.

Now, it seems that a game by developer Matthew Cox and Nick Bray accuse King.com of a greater offence. Matthew states that King.com has cloned the game, which is a far more serious offence than a legal trademark issue. He states on his blog that his colleague, Nick, contacted Lars Jornow in 2009 to license a Pac-Man derivative game called Scamperghost. But they received a better offer from another of King.com’s rivals, so they went with it before actually signing the contract.

However, King.com has then been accused of hiring EpicShadow afterwards to come up with a clone of Scamperghost. The company has admitted in producing the clone, a game called Pac-Avoid, claiming that the contracts have been signed, giving King.com the rights to the game. However, the company also states that Matthew and Nick have broken the contract, something that they strongly deny.

Furthermore, the Pac-Avoid game not only infringes Matthew and Nick’s Scamperghost game, but also Namco’s Pac-Man trademark, which King.com is attempting to use against its rivals.

“King does not clone other peoples’ games. King believes that IP – both our own IP and that of others – is important and should be properly protected. Like any prudent company, we take all appropriate steps to protect our IP in a sensible and fair way. At the same time, we are respectful of the rights and IP of other developers. Before we launch any game, we do a thorough search of other games in the marketplace, as well as a review of trademark filings, to ensure that we are not infringing anyone else’s IP. However, for the avoidance of doubt, in this case, this game – which was coded by a third-party developer 5 years ago – has been taken down” – by King.com in a press statement.

King.com did not comment on why the Pac-Avoid game was taken out off their website, if it indeed infringed Namco’s IP on Pac-Man or if they really did request a direct clone of Scamerghost.

Thank you Bit-Tech for providing us with this information

Say Goodbye To SkyDrive And Welcome To OneDrive

Microsoft is apparently attempting to change the name of their popular cloud storage platform, SkyDrive, to a more ‘combined’ name, specifically OneDrive. This comes as a response to the dispute lost back in July when Microsoft lost its trademark right of using “SkyDrive” to UK British Sky Boradcast.

The change is set to occur sometime in the following weeks, however no official launch date has been revealed. Microsoft is reportedly going to move all current SkyDrive and Skydrive Pro accounts, along with their user data, over to the OneDrive database once the platform is finished. We just have to hope nothing goes ‘wrong’ and people start losing data from their accounts. As previous migrations from various companies went in the past, it is also recommended to save any important data on your SkyDrive accounts in other places as well to avoid any ‘unwanted’ incidents.

Besides the trademark change, Microsoft is reportedly going to add some new features to the upcoming platform: “Get ready for an even better place to store and share your favorite things across all your favourite devices,” as it states on the developing OneDrive page. However, getting excited about new features at this point is probably useless, since Microsoft is known for their ‘new’ features being just refreshed versions of old ones.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4NsPPUDjyU[/youtube]

But if indeed new features are coming to OneDrive, it will most probably be photo and video sharing, as Microsoft’s promo video points out. The concept and vision of OneDrive is fairly simple, one place for everything you want to save, either music, video, photos or files, all in ‘One’ place, one ‘Drive’.

“One place for all of your photos and videos. One place for all of your documents. One place that is seamlessly connected across all the devices you use. You want OneDrive for everything in your life.” as the OneDrive blog states.

Thank you PC World for providing us with this information
Image and video courtesy of PC World

World Of Warcraft Expansion: Warlords Of Draenor

Blizzard Entertainment is fairly good about staying tight-lipped about their products until they have been released, but today we got word that Blizzard has filed for a trademark in Australia and New Zealand, it is unknown if they have filed for the trademark in the US yet. According to Intellectual Property Australia, Blizzard Entertainment has filed for a trademark for the words “Warlords of Draenor”. Which is likely to be the name of the next World of Warcraft expansion. We likely wont know more about this until late next week.

We haven’t heard much out of Blizzard about any new projects that they might have coming out in the future, though next Friday we have BlizzCon. Which I am sure that they will have much tell us about, perhaps even unveiling some of their plans for the future. The last BlizzCon was in 2011, holding off in 2012 in order to work hard on some of their projects. This new Trademark may be for any number of things, though it is likely to be for a new World of Warcraft expansion. But it could be for any number of things, including a fourth instalment of Warcraft, or even a expansion for Warcraft 3, though that is highly unlikely.

In the lore of Warcraft, Draenor was believed to be lost, torn from Outlands. The Draenei race, which was featured with the release of the Burning Crusade expansion originally were from Draenor.

Blizzard loves to give us rum ors to follow, and get our minds wandering, this could easily be Blizzard giving us a good tease, though the next expansion is due to be out soon. We can only hope that it turns out to be something interesting.

Thank you Joystiq for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of LazyGeeks

Ubisoft To File Another Trademark For Splinter Cell

Ubisoft filed another trademark application for the mark “Splinter Cell” on October the 23rd. The difference between the other trademarks and this particular one consists in the type. This filed trademark deals with entertainment services such as television programs, interactive television programs and live stage show performances, just to name a few.

Here is what the trademark details tell us about what is to come:

“IC 041. US 100 101 107. G & S: Entertainment services, namely, continuing television programs and interactive television programs featuring comedy, drama, live-action, and animation, broadcast over television, satellite, audio, and video media; presentation of live stage show performances, presentation of live show performances by costumed characters, and presentation of live theatrical performances; production and distribution of television shows and motion pictures.”

This could indicate that Ubisoft has plans to do more that just make a Splinter Cell movie, or it could just be that they are covering all of their bases when it comes to the intellectual property. There are currently 13 trademarks filed for the term “Splinter Cell”, this not including trademarks for other Splinter Cell games, which includes almost anything you can possibly think of.

Thank you NextPowerUp for providing us with this information.

Portal 3 Trademark Has Been Filed And Approved

Remember the Half Life 3 trademark that cropped up last week? Well that did seem a little rumour happy at the time and it’s recent disappearance (of the trademark) suggests that it could have been a hoax overall, or the legal team at Valve doing a fine job of covering their tracks, who knows! This new one however seems all that more legit as Portal 3 gets trademarked, but also passed further legal authentications with the OHIM (Office of the European Union).

Either trolls are getting brave and risking fraud charges, while also being through enough to fool several major legal departments without Valve catching on, or this is the real deal. However, this doesn’t mean squat without a game announcement.

Trade Mark Name: Portal 3
Trade Mark Number: 012190286
Officially Checked: Yes

The rumour mill is in full swing recently, with Valve working on the SteamOS thing, SteamBox and all kinds of little projects. Yet you have to think, if Valve really are trying to take a bigger chunk of the gaming market, they’re going to need some games! Portal, Half Life, Source and a few others are prime real estate to launch their SteamBox and we have to keep hoping they’ll see the light of day soon.

Thank you WCCFTech for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of WCCFTech.

Trademark For Apple’s iPad Mini Denied… For Now!

The United States Patent and Trademark Office refused to award a trademark on the term “iPad Mini”. The office said that the “mini” portion of the name is barely descriptive enough for them to consider. Apple filled the request for trademark for iPad mini as soon as the device was launched last year. Apple received the letter on January 24th, but it was recently made public few days ago.

USPTO’s reviewer sent the letter to Apple which stated the reason on why the trademark registration was denied. It is written that ‘Has Finally Said What Many Gamers Have Been Saying: “DRM Is A Failed Dead-end Strategy’. The reviewer also used the words “merely descriptive”. It also specifically said that the word “mini” means ‘something that is distinctively smaller than other members of its type or class’.

The reviewer even went ahead and explained Apple using many range of products that can be seen on the internet with the name ‘mini’ attached with the product’s name. Since this is a common word used in some fashion for many products, not necessarily tech products, the reviewer argues that with regards to Apple’s use, it basically means “a small sized handheld tablet computer’ and therefore did not have a ‘unitary mark with a unique, incongruous or otherwise non- descriptive meaning in relation to the good and/or services”.

For those who want to read the letter sent from USPTO can click here.

As of now, Apple’ Inc. can make some changes in its trademark request application, provided the new version can explain that the mark is distinctive to the product itself. But it would be difficult for Apple to do so with the word “mini” associated with their already trademark brand “iPad”, but they have until July 24th to reply back to explain how does ‘iPad mini’ qualifies to have its own trademark.

Courtesy: Apple Insider