It appears that Atari's legal team has kicked into action and is demanding the removal of at least three iPhone games, and likely more.

iPhone developer Bootant had posted yesterday in our forums that Atari had requested the removal of BreakClassic [App Store] and BreakTouch 3D [App Store].

As it turns out, Spiffyware, the developer of Super Pong 2 [App Store] has also been asked to remove their app.

Some very unfortunate news, I have been asked to remove SuperPong 2 from the App Store at the request of Atari Interactive due to infringements against the pong and breakout copyrights.

Student developer Noah Witherspoon ran across a similar issue when his popular Tris game had to be pulled due to a copyright claim made by the Tetris company.

In the case of Witherspoon and Spiffyware, both are student developers who do not have the resources to mount a legal battle, and they have both expressed some doubts about the legal scope of these demands.

Update: Gyrocade's 3D Vector Pong [App Store] has also been contacted by Atari. The developer's solution appears to simply be renaming 3D Vector Pong to 3D Vector Ball. Though no official response from Atari has yet acknowledged this change as sufficient.

  • http://iphone.rcptones.com brendan

    huh?

    how is this possible? there's thousands of breakout type games. there was one that came stock on early ipod models if i remember correctly. i bet they make these games on wristwatch calculators! did Atari have a problem with Taito's Arkanoid?

    what's the deal with this app store monopolizin? flying rider, tris, and now this. is there a legal case here or just scare tactics?

  • http://iphone.rcptones.com brendan

    huh?

    how is this possible? there's thousands of breakout type games. there was one that came stock on early ipod models if i remember correctly. i bet they make these games on wristwatch calculators! did Atari have a problem with Taito's Arkanoid?

    what's the deal with this app store monopolizin? flying rider, tris, and now this. is there a legal case here or just scare tactics?

  • Lee Roberts

    Indeed. This seems utterly ludicrous. But then, these days so are Atari.

  • Lee Roberts

    Indeed. This seems utterly ludicrous. But then, these days so are Atari.

  • Crastic

    "Pong" is an ancient Atari trademark, as is Breakout. The Tetris company suspiciously owns the suffix "tris". All you have to do is not use those words, or words that sound just like them, and they have no legal grounds.

  • Crastic

    "Pong" is an ancient Atari trademark, as is Breakout. The Tetris company suspiciously owns the suffix "tris". All you have to do is not use those words, or words that sound just like them, and they have no legal grounds.

  • Ed

    well, i only hope those garbajirbos games gets banned as well (there's a breakout clone as well ain't there?)

    bootant's break classic is a fun game, a bit tedious over time, but still enjoyable.

  • Ed

    well, i only hope those garbajirbos games gets banned as well (there's a breakout clone as well ain't there?)

    bootant's break classic is a fun game, a bit tedious over time, but still enjoyable.

  • Jason

    I have mixed feelings on this.

    On one hand, legally there seems to be no copyright or patent protection on original game concepts. So these developers may technically be in the clear for copying these game concepts.

    On the other hand, as a developer, this lack of intellectual property rights is very frustrating. At one point in time these games were novel concepts. I would be heart broken if someone took my game concept, developed it for another platform, called it something different, and released it as their own before I had a chance to port it myself. If that happened, legally there isn't much I could do. Does that seem right? It kinda makes me sad.

  • Jason

    I have mixed feelings on this.

    On one hand, legally there seems to be no copyright or patent protection on original game concepts. So these developers may technically be in the clear for copying these game concepts.

    On the other hand, as a developer, this lack of intellectual property rights is very frustrating. At one point in time these games were novel concepts. I would be heart broken if someone took my game concept, developed it for another platform, called it something different, and released it as their own before I had a chance to port it myself. If that happened, legally there isn't much I could do. Does that seem right? It kinda makes me sad.

  • WiseWeasel

    As long as Ikanoid stays up, they can have all these other breakout clones...

  • WiseWeasel

    As long as Ikanoid stays up, they can have all these other breakout clones...

  • Adisah

    Atari is only doing this because they are in need of money. It's business, always about the money.

  • Adisah

    Atari is only doing this because they are in need of money. It's business, always about the money.

  • Jason

    Sure it's about money. Money they are losing because someone else released breakout for the iPhone before they did. I'm sure they've sunk a lot of money into the franchise over the years developing the concept, marketing it, making it popular. These people are making money off of something they helped popularize.

  • Jason

    Sure it's about money. Money they are losing because someone else released breakout for the iPhone before they did. I'm sure they've sunk a lot of money into the franchise over the years developing the concept, marketing it, making it popular. These people are making money off of something they helped popularize.

  • http://www.peabraingames.com skooby

    Since this is a copyright/trademark issue... I imagine all games should avoid the use of another games copyright/trademarks in their naming convention and/or descriptions. Wonder if there is a chance to change those things and re-release their products.

    Same with the "Lightsaber" App on the iphone... If they used a name like "Light swords of Death" they wouldnt have a problem.

    Breakout isnt that great of a name anyhow...

  • http://www.peabraingames.com skooby

    Since this is a copyright/trademark issue... I imagine all games should avoid the use of another games copyright/trademarks in their naming convention and/or descriptions. Wonder if there is a chance to change those things and re-release their products.

    Same with the "Lightsaber" App on the iphone... If they used a name like "Light swords of Death" they wouldnt have a problem.

    Breakout isnt that great of a name anyhow...

  • Jason

    I wonder if Light Swords of Death would sell as well as something called Lightsaber :-) It's amazing how much existing brand recognition can help you sell.

    I think your advice is sound though. Saying your game IS something else, is just asking for legal trouble. Saying your game is like something is ok. As long as your game is actually sufficiently different (inspired by, but not an exact clone of) you probably won't get bothered by the original company.

  • Jason

    I wonder if Light Swords of Death would sell as well as something called Lightsaber :-) It's amazing how much existing brand recognition can help you sell.

    I think your advice is sound though. Saying your game IS something else, is just asking for legal trouble. Saying your game is like something is ok. As long as your game is actually sufficiently different (inspired by, but not an exact clone of) you probably won't get bothered by the original company.

  • isimon

    great, i just bought super pong today!

  • isimon

    great, i just bought super pong today!

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/Jake666Jimmy James

    NOOOO!!!! Super Pong is one of the best titles on the store!!!!

    I can't believe this!!!!

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/Jake666Jimmy James

    NOOOO!!!! Super Pong is one of the best titles on the store!!!!

    I can't believe this!!!!

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  • arn

    Update: 3D Vector Pong has also been contacted by Atari. The developer’s solution appears to simply be renaming 3D Vector Pong to 3D Vector Ball. Though no official response from Atari has yet acknowledged this change as sufficient.

  • arn

    Update: 3D Vector Pong has also been contacted by Atari. The developer’s solution appears to simply be renaming 3D Vector Pong to 3D Vector Ball. Though no official response from Atari has yet acknowledged this change as sufficient.

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  • Constable Odo

    I'd prefer Light Swords of Death. The Death part makes it seem more manly. Put "death" in anything and it sounds like it means business.

    I hope the developers only have to change the name of their games slightly to make them legal. What's good about this same name stuff is now Apple can sue anyone that uses the word "phone" in the name of a communications device.

  • Constable Odo

    I'd prefer Light Swords of Death. The Death part makes it seem more manly. Put "death" in anything and it sounds like it means business.

    I hope the developers only have to change the name of their games slightly to make them legal. What's good about this same name stuff is now Apple can sue anyone that uses the word "phone" in the name of a communications device.

  • Dudehuge

    3D Vector PONG, SuperPONG, are clear violations of Atari's Trademark, yeah you guessed it, PONG. Copyright claims are harder to prove, because if they change some rules of the original game, they can't really be held liable.

    These guys were hit with both a Copyright and Trademark violation claim, not just one. Using a recognized name owned by somebody else for their own good is not something that anyone should applaud.

  • Dudehuge

    3D Vector PONG, SuperPONG, are clear violations of Atari's Trademark, yeah you guessed it, PONG. Copyright claims are harder to prove, because if they change some rules of the original game, they can't really be held liable.

    These guys were hit with both a Copyright and Trademark violation claim, not just one. Using a recognized name owned by somebody else for their own good is not something that anyone should applaud.

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  • SteveJ

    It will be interesting to see if they go after Space Out. Space Out is a fun game and, unlike Superpong and BreakClassic, it actually does something new. So perhaps it will be safe: different name and some different gameplay. Also wondering if they will go after Chimps Ahoy which also puts a new twist on the game, and also has an entirely different name. Hopefully those two are safe for those reasons, or at least Space Out. I loved both, but Chimps Ahoy has no replay value due to being structured in such a way as to not be conducive to repeat play and so I don't play it any more, whereas Space Out is always fun to play and always will be.

  • SteveJ

    It will be interesting to see if they go after Space Out. Space Out is a fun game and, unlike Superpong and BreakClassic, it actually does something new. So perhaps it will be safe: different name and some different gameplay. Also wondering if they will go after Chimps Ahoy which also puts a new twist on the game, and also has an entirely different name. Hopefully those two are safe for those reasons, or at least Space Out. I loved both, but Chimps Ahoy has no replay value due to being structured in such a way as to not be conducive to repeat play and so I don't play it any more, whereas Space Out is always fun to play and always will be.

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  • different

    Three new applications added today; BlocksClassic, SuperBall 2 and 3D Vector Ball.

    ;-)

  • different

    Three new applications added today; BlocksClassic, SuperBall 2 and 3D Vector Ball.

    ;-)

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  • http://desenhocolorir.net/blog Luiz

    Hoje tem de tudo jogo simples até jogos avançados.

  • http://desenhocolorir.net/blog Luiz

    Hoje tem de tudo jogo simples até jogos avançados.

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  • Greg

    Someone should make a clone of Tetris and call it Falling Coloured Tetragrams.

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