"Tower Defense" is now up for CP Infringement

Discussion in 'Public Game Developers Forum' started by slashandburn, Jan 22, 2010.

  1. slashandburn

    slashandburn Active Member

    Oct 10, 2009
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    Birmingham, Al
    Hello,

    I just got a odd notice from apple and here is the excerpt and my response.

    And my response

    Please comment, I would hate for a bad looking game to "Own" the phrase "Tower Defense" in the app store.
     
  2. cidneytouch

    cidneytouch Member

    Oct 21, 2009
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    I think you points are valid. Keep it up with apple and Com2us.
     
  3. MrBlue

    MrBlue Well-Known Member

    Sep 3, 2008
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    iPhone Developer
    #3 MrBlue, Jan 22, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2010
    Incredible.

    The first time I heard of the name "Tower Defense" used was in 2002 in Warcraft 3 custom maps. I'm sure it was used earlier than that as well. If it comes down to it, hire a trademark lawyer. You should be able to get a lawyer for less than a grand.

    edit:
    http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4002:mmtsnb.4.2

    I found that they did actually file with the USPTO for their mark "Tower Defense". I think this becomes a bit more complicated for you. From personal experience, one of my other ventures also faced the same problem for what we thought was a generic name. Our lawyer friend said we would probably win in court, but going to court would cost us far in excess of what it cost to settle. In the end, we paid 5% of profits to that point and changed the name of our app. :(

    edit2:
    1. Take the most popular apps in the app store.
    2. Release an similar app with a similar name
    3. Register with the USPTO
    4. Get Apple to remove all the competition.
    5. Profit!!!
     
  4. DaveLev

    DaveLev Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2009
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    Indie Games Developer for iPhone
    Derby, UK.
    Point 4 seems the more ironic point ... Apple use it their selves on the App Store!

    I think you were totally right to send a reply back pointing out what you did. I'm intrigued as to what Apple will reply with!
     
  5. EssentialParadox

    EssentialParadox Well-Known Member

    Sep 21, 2009
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    UK / Toronto
    The terrible reality of the App Store right now is that Apple would still remove your App, even though your points are all hugely valid.

    I know Apple won't remove it, as you've agreed to change the name. But if you had decided to fight, they would've removed it.

    The problem is Apple don't want to get involved "legally" — even when the evidence is obvious. So they'll remove the app to be on the safe side. The problem is this can cause a huge disruption to someone's chart position in the store and a loss of sales. It also means anyone can issue an infringement claim on any reason and Apple will abide.

    I really believe Apple should change this policy. If the defendant disputes the infringement claim, Apple should leave the app up until the claimant gets a court order to remove it. Apple have proved they have no legal responsibility here, so they also shouldn't have a responsibility to remove apps without a court order. Apple really need some kind of legal arbitrator to decide when an app is clearly infringing against another, when an app clearly isn't infringing another, or when it's a grey area. This is one of those obvious situations when it clearly isn't.

    I don't currently have an app on iTunes, so I don't really have any grounds for doing this, but I recommend you try emailing [email protected] about this situation - it's rare to get a reply, but in exceptional cases you will get a high level of support. I would also contact Apple Customer Service and ask to speak to Apple Customer Relations — they're a higher level than customer service and can do extraordinary things.
     
  6. dawvee

    dawvee Well-Known Member

    Aug 14, 2009
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    iPhone Developer, DaVoid Digital
    Dublin, Ireland
    Considering that they actually own the US trade mark for "Tower Defense" covering the relevant classes, Apple may have little choice in the matter. They're required to comply with existing laws, and as of right now the law is on their side.

    It's quite likely that you could get their trade mark revoked on the grounds stated (it's a general descriptive term, and has been in use as such since at least 2002), but that would mean challenging their trade mark in court. You could also contact developers of other tower defense games on the app store and see if they've been affected too. If they've messed with any of the bigger players (EA, Gameloft, etc.), those proceedings may already be in the works.
     
  7. sam the lion

    sam the lion Well-Known Member

    Jan 12, 2009
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    Italy
    wow... com2us made some amazing games. I really hope they won't follow the horrible path traced by Tim Langdell and MumboJumbo.
     
  8. slashandburn

    slashandburn Active Member

    Oct 10, 2009
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    Birmingham, Al
    My only guarentee is, if I change my apps name, I will slander com2us with map parodys and creative dialog.
     
  9. Sinecure Industries

    Sinecure Industries Well-Known Member

    Geez, that's some underhanded stuff. What about games described as "tower defense" ... are they next?
     
  10. MikeSz_spokko

    MikeSz_spokko Well-Known Member

    May 27, 2009
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  11. ziotoo4

    ziotoo4 Well-Known Member

    Jan 9, 2010
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    Wow. I thought this wasn't possible, but i was wrong.

    My take on this? I don't know how much it costs to register trademarks in the U.S.A.(here in italy it's about 200€)-but if i were you i would register some character names from chronicles of Inotia and get that game removed ;)

    Com2Us has definitely taken a wrong way-just like Tim Langdell and his dumb Edge. But unfortunately, as some others have pointed out, your app will be pulled anyway, if you don't change the name. Apple has deaf ears when it comes to the logic vs. law dispute.

    Good luck, i'll be following the thread!
    Fede
     
  12. #12 RegularStormy, Jan 22, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2010
    What's really interesting to me is that Com2Us doesn't even have a game called TowerDefense on the app store right now... or even a tower defense game of any name.
     
  13. bobz56

    bobz56 Well-Known Member

    Dec 31, 2009
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    since when have com2us made a tower defence game??
     
  14. aros2k

    aros2k Well-Known Member

    Jan 17, 2010
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    Very dissapointed in com2us for doing this, will not buy any more of their games
     
  15. arn

    arn Administrator
    Staff Member Patreon Silver Patreon Gold

    Apr 19, 2008
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    they do have a game called Tower Defense



    and do have a trademark
     

    Attached Files:

  16. slashandburn

    slashandburn Active Member

    Oct 10, 2009
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    Birmingham, Al
    Really, that game is now "Tower Defense", Fieldrunners or TapDefense can take it any day. Guys please stay tuned, my team is working on a creative solution to help developers and ruin com2us. We will need your support and help to legally succeed.
     
  17. KGameLover1

    KGameLover1 Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2009
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    Student
    Ohio
    I = supporter.

    Mostly because

    A. this is morally wrong.

    B. They didn't want me for any beta testing. :p
     
  18. EssentialParadox

    EssentialParadox Well-Known Member

    Sep 21, 2009
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    UK / Toronto
    You can make a trademark registered, but you don't need to.

    If I start advertising using a logo or slogan it's already trademarked to me. I can add ™ to the end to inform people it's a trademark. ® Means it has been registered officially, but that's not required.
     
  19. MrBlue

    MrBlue Well-Known Member

    Sep 3, 2008
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    iPhone Developer
    As I understand it, this is correct. But when Apple sends you a letter like that, it's much easier to refer to your mark on USPTO and they can dismiss the opposing claim.

    To register with the USPTO, you can file your mark online for $275. In some cases, it's $325. It's a fairly simple process, but I never bothered as some of my games don't even make $300. :(
     
  20. slashandburn

    slashandburn Active Member

    Oct 10, 2009
    32
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    Birmingham, Al
    #20 slashandburn, Jan 23, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2010
    I've been checking and only "Tower Defense", is officially registered, all the other combinations, SG TD, Magical TD, Evo TD are all missing, so com2us owns the root trademark for many unofficial names, and I think Apple will side with com2us over any of us, so the new plan is to find a new public domain phrase to define, tower defense, and if you really think about it tower defense isn't an appropriate name for TD games, your not defending your towers, but they are defending your field. Were working on some combinations of words, but we would like to hear from you guys, because were not that creative.

    The current plan:

    1. We need a new phrase to define tower defense that we can put into the public domain, if we have to we will actually trademark it and allow for its free use. Please PM me with ideas that you would like see, don't post them to the thread, we need to finish step 2 before someone else buys the domain first, I don't think we can use Defense Tower, but come up with something nice.

    2. We need the domain, .net preferably to be a place to tell the story of "why" and freely list games that use the phrase or describe them as our new genre, for iPhone, Web and other devices. We already have free Web Space available and can pickup the domain in hours after its selection.

    3. We will release a free iPhone App that will companion the WebSite and be a guide for iPhone games of the genre, no preferences of one game over another, example, Fieldrunners can't pay to be on top and Port Defender will not always be on the top of the list. Also include an option to display 5 random games, top 5 games, new games and such, maybe even allow for 30 second game play videos, and links to review sites for more information.

    Also: We just changed our name, meaning we will start adding parody content to our game soon.
     

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