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Apple Orders Memory Game Developers To Stop Using 'Memory' In Names

Unknown Lamer posted about a year and a half ago | from the slashdot-trademarks-news dept.

Software 409

An anonymous reader writes with this bit of trademark absurdity from geek.com: "Ravensburger is a German gaming company that specializes in jigsaw puzzles, but has also expanded into other areas such as children's books and games. The company owns the trademark to a board game called 'Memory' and has demanded Apple stop offering apps that have the word 'memory' in their title or as a keyword associated with an app. It may seem ludicrous such a common word can be trademarked, but apparently this is a valid claim as Apple is now serving notices to app developers. The choice an infringing app developer has is to either rename their app or remove it from the App Store."

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409 comments

And this is why I'll never live in a walled garden (3, Interesting)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981423)

Yes, your garden looks very nice at first glance. But I'll stay out here, thanks.

Sometimes a central authority is a good thing. But no-fucking-body is telling me what software I can or can't download, or banning me from downloading certain titles over some stupid shit like this. And this is just a mild example of what they *could* do if they wanted.

Re:And this is why I'll never live in a walled gar (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41981455)

You couldn't even be bothered to RTFS, could you? This is about a legal claim against Apple, it has nothing to do with them operating a walled garden (though I agree this is a bad thing).

Re:And this is why I'll never live in a walled gar (4, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981489)

Yes, I understand that Apple didn't CHOOSE to do this (in this case anyway). It's the fact that they CAN that bothers me.

Re:And this is why I'll never live in a walled gar (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41981633)

Because Google hasn't done something similar? They've removed apps for trademark and copyright claims. They've even ordered Microsoft to remove apps from the Windows Phone app store over trademarks to Youtube. But, hey, let's ignore that because we are Google fans.

Re:And this is why I'll never live in a walled gar (5, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981769)

Because Google hasn't done something similar? They've removed apps for trademark and copyright claims. But, hey, let's ignore that because we are Google fans.

Ok. And that stops me from installing those apps on Android... how, exactly?

Re:And this is why I'll never live in a walled gar (4, Insightful)

Psyborgue (699890) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981777)

And it's the fact they can that's what's the problem with the walled garden. If i'm a private company selling an app to you directly I can tell Ravensburger to go fuck themselves and if they want their trademark torn up they're welcome to take me to court. If i'm a developer selling through Apple or another walled garden, then who the hell am I supposed to appeal to? I could sue Ravensburger for damages, but in the mean time what do I do?

Re:And this is why I'll never live in a walled gar (3, Interesting)

Desler (1608317) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981847)

You appeal to the courts if you think their claim is spurious and if you win you resubmit your app. The procedure for fighting the claim is no different than if you weren't selling through someone's store and you were threatened with a lawsuit over a trademark claim against your product.

Re:And this is why I'll never live in a walled gar (4, Informative)

Psyborgue (699890) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981949)

If I win I resubmit my app? Is that a serious response. What do I do in the mean time while i'm losing profit. The difference between your solution and a sane one is that in a sane world you're not automatically guilty and get to defend yourself in court before action is taken against you. The procedure may be the same (sort of), but the timing here is what matters.

Re:And this is why I'll never live in a walled gar (1)

mapsjanhere (1130359) | about a year and a half ago | (#41982009)

The whole deal with trademarks is you HAVE to defend them. They can take you to court and you will lose, as long as they have a history of defending the trademark. Try branding your cooking app American Pumpkin Pie Lover Estate and see what happens to you.

Re:And this is why I'll never live in a walled gar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41982017)

At least Android has the "Unknown Sources" checkbox. Sure, google could block apps from their store... but theirs is not the only store on Android, and the apk packages can be downloaded from just about anywhere, no app store truely needed.

Of course, if you play out in the big wide ocean (download apps from anywhere), you're more likely to drown than if you stick to the roped off lifeguard watched section (the app stores like Google Play, Amazon App Store, etc).

Re:And this is why I'll never live in a walled gar (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41981521)

Actually, this is about them operating a walled garden! The developer doesn't even get to decide whether to challenge the claim in court. He complies or gets kicked out (with that app).

Re:And this is why I'll never live in a walled gar (1)

jaskelling (1927116) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981543)

Exactly this. This has nothing to do with a walled garden. This exact same copyright claim could (and probably will) be brought against the Amazon, Android, Microsoft, etc. stores which have the same type of infringing apps.

Re:And this is why I'll never live in a walled gar (5, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981695)

This exact same copyright claim ...

No copyright claim is being made. This is about a trademark.

Copyrights, trademarks, and patents are three different things . How can we ever expect politicians to fix our IP system, when even many geeks seem incapable of understanding even the absolute basics?

Re:And this is why I'll never live in a walled gar (2)

bfandreas (603438) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981869)

Also this trademark is at least 30 years old. And it propably only applies to borad games. Propably only card games. If it has been registered abroad(as in not in Germany) is not known to me.

If we want to compile a list of trademarks for common words we could start with:
A is for Apple
and work our way across the alphabet until we reach
M is for Monopoly
make our way up to
W is for Windows

I will leave it as an exercise for the reader to fill in the gaps. But I guess you get my meaning.

So while Apple(not the round fruit thing but the rounded corners for fruits) is propably well in their rights not to carry them they also deserve every bit of stink they get.

Re:And this is why I'll never live in a walled gar (0)

bfandreas (603438) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981973)

Trademarks are fsckd. They need to be registered in every country separately and the need to defend them(usually with lawyers) makes them just as unpleasant to deal with as copyrights and patents. But at least they are easy to look up. For every fschking country under the sun.

Ravensburger has to act like this if they want to keep their trademark. Wich obviously is quite valuable.

The solution to this problem is to intensify our SETI search since there is evidently no intelligent life on earth. Bomb it from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

Re:And this is why I'll never live in a walled gar (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41981499)

Whoa, you're a real fucking tough-guy.

Ravensburger is now shitting themselves in fear of your righteous justice. They'd better watch out, you might just download another kid's game and deprive them of another dollar. Whoa, shit, there's gonna be hell to pay if they don't shut their filthy shit-encrusted Kraut mouths. It's a good think that there are real tough-guys like you left in the world, willing to roll up your sleeves and dole out justice and stand up for the downtrodden. I don't know what my lily white ass would do without a champion like you defending me from evil patent trolls. Fuck! You're tough, so tough!

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:And this is why I'll never live in a walled gar (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41981725)

You're an ignorant fuckass. And I'm smarter than you.

--
BMO

Re:And this is why I'll never live in a walled gar (3, Informative)

Cinder6 (894572) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981603)

1. Apple isn't banning the apps, they're telling the developers they have to rename them.
2. This isn't some arbitrary decision by Apple (unlike some other cases), this is because another company owns the trademark to "memory" in the context of games and is threatening to sue Apple if they don't comply with the order to have the apps' names changed.

Re:And this is why I'll never live in a walled gar (4, Insightful)

bhlowe (1803290) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981657)

Do you know how many small developers this might impact? Each app may have hundreds or thousands of dollars in advertising, name brand awareness, web site names, artwork... etc. Apple should use its billions of dollars to squash this ridiculous claim. Its a word in a dictionary, not a proprietary trademark. This is Apple being a pussy.

Re:And this is why I'll never live in a walled gar (4, Insightful)

Desler (1608317) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981815)

You do realize that plenty of "dictionary" words are trademarked, right? Apple, Windows, Subway, Amazon, Android, Fire. I could go on and on.

Re:And this is why I'll never live in a walled gar (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41981855)

Do you know how many small developers this might impact?

Around 300.

Re:And this is why I'll never live in a walled gar (1)

houghi (78078) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981873)

If it were the other way around, do you think Apple would hesitate one second to the identical claim?
And sure Apple has the money to buy laws. Good that money is the deciding factor for you, not who is right or wrong.

Re:And this is why I'll never live in a walled gar (3, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981691)

Sometimes a central authority is a good thing. But no-fucking-body is telling me what software I can or can't download, or banning me from downloading certain titles over some stupid shit like this. And this is just a mild example of what they *could* do if they wanted.

Well, the developer (ANY developer, mind you) can get sued for trademark infringement, so even your "open access" rules can get curtailed. Yes, if you make a "memory" game, expect to receive some cease-and-desist soon, regardless if it's walled, garden, open-source, whatever.

And Apple has so far let users keep their "removed" apps. I think even iCloud keeps a copy if you happen to not have a backed up copy.

Nope, it's nothing to do with a walled garden (which actually doesn't affect users so much as developers since removed apps still can be used by existing uesrs). This affects *ALL* developers.

Re:And this is why I'll never live in a walled gar (3, Insightful)

characterZer0 (138196) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981797)

It does have to do with a walled garden. A company can make a possibly frivilous complaint againt the garden owner who can then kick you out, and you have no recourse. If it was not a walled garden and you could sell your app independently, the claimant would have to go after you directly, and you would have the opportunity to legally defend yourself.

Re:And this is why I'll never live in a walled gar (1)

Desler (1608317) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981861)

A company can make a possibly frivilous complaint againt the garden owner who can then kick you out, and you have no recourse.

Sure you do. You gonto the courts and countersue them just like you would have otherwise.

Re:And this is why I'll never live in a walled gar (3, Insightful)

psmears (629712) | about a year and a half ago | (#41982029)

Sometimes a central authority is a good thing. But no-fucking-body is telling me what software I can or can't download, or banning me from downloading certain titles over some stupid shit like this. And this is just a mild example of what they *could* do if they wanted.

Well, the developer (ANY developer, mind you) can get sued for trademark infringement, so even your "open access" rules can get curtailed.

This much is true...

Yes, if you make a "memory" game, expect to receive some cease-and-desist soon, regardless if it's walled, garden, open-source, whatever.

And Apple has so far let users keep their "removed" apps. I think even iCloud keeps a copy if you happen to not have a backed up copy.

Nope, it's nothing to do with a walled garden (which actually doesn't affect users so much as developers since removed apps still can be used by existing uesrs). This affects *ALL* developers.

... but you're missing an important point. The significance of the "walled garden" reference is this: if I am a developer of an application that uses the word "memory" in its title or as a keyword, but in a non-infringing way (and it's hard to imagine that every single possible use of the word "memory" infringes the trademark), then outside a walled garden, I have options: I may choose to capitulate to avoid a lawsuit, or I can choose to take my chances with the legal system and continue using the term (and, if I can get a good lawyer, I may well win). But Apple is not giving developers that choice - they can either remove the term "memory", or remove the app entirely.

I suspect that Ravensburger have taken action to protect their trademark, and are only likely concerned about apps that are similar to / might be confused with their product - and Apple are indeed probably liable if they are selling infringing products. But, rather than vet individual apps based on whether they infringe or not (which is time-consuming and error-prone), Apple have taken a decision to impose a blanket ban on the term - which, while I see the practical benefits from their point of view, is clearly detrimental to, say, people searching for an application to check what DIMMs might be compatible with some hardware they need to upgrade...

What does this have to do with a walled garden? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41981843)

It's no different than download.com or tucows removing a program after receiving an infringement notice.

These anti-Apple clowns popping up every time Apple is mentioned is getting so old.

I Can See It Now (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981429)

The Memory Game
That classic game of remembering is back in this awesome new iPhone app!

Apple: Please remove 'memory' from the title of your game or we will remove your game for you!

The Memorie Game
The Anglo-Normans are challenging your ability to remember in this awesome new iPhone app!

Apple: Don't be a smartass, you know what we mean. Please remove 'memorie' from the title of your game or we will remove your game for you!

The Memoria Game
Which cards had Marcus Aurelius beneath them and which cards had Marcus Annius Verus under them?! This classic challenging Latin game of remembering cards is in this awesome new iPhone app!

Apple: Goddamnit. Okay, no Latin root words of Memoria, okay? You'll be sued, we'll be sued, they own everything related to mem- and as preemptive warning, no 'mnemonic' shit either, okay? It's all owned by someone else!

The Apple Can Go Fuck Itself Game
Which company is making Apple its Intellectual Property bitch today? Try to find out in this classic game of "wait, what card was that again?"

Apple: Approved.

Re:I Can See It Now (5, Funny)

pla (258480) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981503)

Yeah, about all those letters(tm) you keep using in your apps to form words(tm)? Scrabble's lawyers would like a word with you...

Re:I Can See It Now (5, Funny)

jameshofo (1454841) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981631)

The Scrabble v Apple trial hit a standstill today when lawyers broke down trying to converse about the ability to recall information from ones own mind.

Re:I Can See It Now (2, Funny)

OzPeter (195038) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981535)

The Memory Game

That classic game of remembering is back in this awesome new iPhone app!

Apple: Please remove 'memory' from the title of your game or we will remove your game for you!

I prefer The Mammary Game

Re:I Can See It Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41981569)

The Memory Game

That classic game of remembering is back in this awesome new iPhone app!

Apple: Please remove 'memory' from the title of your game or we will remove your game for you!

I prefer The Mammary Game

Did this card have the weird upturned titties like in the 1970's playboys or the asymmetrical ones with a mole near the left ariola?

I run the risk of Godwinning this thread (5, Funny)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981549)

Or instead of calling it "Memory", call it "Concentration Camp". Defeat the detainment camp guards at a game of Concentration to earn your freedom.

Re:I run the risk of Godwinning this thread (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981721)

Or instead of calling it "Memory", call it "Concentration Camp".

I'm sure you already realize this, but that's hilariously fucking clever.

+5 Internets to you.

Hilarious, but seriously. (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981733)

While I remember the old memory game(vaguely), I wonder if the suit being brought in Germany was somewhat 'court shopping'? After all, the IOS market is global, not just German, and depending on the laws, 'Memory' might be too vague in many countries to be a valid trademark on it's own.

I mean, what about a game called 'The Memories of Lars Fibbonachi'? Would that be in violation? 'In Memory of X?', etc...

Re:I Can See It Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41981749)

How about "The M3mory Game"?

It's actually a fairly sensible reaction (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41981471)

Foreign words are valid trademarks in all countries I've bothered to check, so that doesn't surprise me, at least for an international store like Apple's. Also, you *can* trademark a word to refer to this particular game. Nobody says you can't make a game that has you flip pictures and match them up as you remember where which one is. You just can't call it just 'Memory'. Come up with your own name, and you're golden. But of course then you can't mooch off their popularity by having people who look for 'Memory' find you, you need to do your own marketing.

Re:It's actually a fairly sensible reaction (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41981573)

Yes and no. Any other game about memory (i.e. with the focus on testing and training your memory) is forbidden to use that term anywhere in their title? Harhar. That's just f***** up, sorry. There's no marketing involved coming up with that name... Just goes to show that being born earlier gives you exclusive rights even when you're utterly uninventive yourself.

Trade marks are protected from confusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41981587)

A trade mark is infringing if it would confuse the customer in thinking they'd bought one thing and actually gotten another product.

In this case: no foul.

What's the generic term? (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981665)

CLARITIN is a trademark of Schering, an MSD company. The generic term is Loratadine. What's the generic term for games using the same rules as MEMORY by Ravensburger?

Re:What's the generic term? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41981757)

The generic term is you go out of business.

Re:It's actually a fairly sensible reaction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41981667)

The thing here is that due process is being skipped, because Apple chooses to. Orders like this should come from a judge and be requested by the copyright holder.

Re:It's actually a fairly sensible reaction (5, Interesting)

Desler (1608317) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981955)

Due process does not apply here. Due process is a requirement on the State to respect the accuser's rights. Apple is not bound by due process.

Re:It's actually a fairly sensible reaction (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981833)

Not really. They aren't just banning ones named "memory" if the summery is correct they are bring down the ban hammer on any with "memory" in the title. Besides just because it is trademarked in anothe country does not make it trademarked her where it is a common part of your vocabulary. than agains so is apple window and other generic terms that have been trademarked

Wonder if the word 'THE' is trademarked (1)

Ravaldy (2621787) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981473)

Wonder if the word 'THE' is trademarked. If not, let the race begin.

Re:Wonder if the word 'THE' is trademarked (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981851)

No, trademark the word "product".

Watch the shit hit the fan.

New Sample Product Description (2)

quangdog (1002624) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981481)

Using your recollection, the ability to hold in your mind certain facts, figures or concepts is a part of your consciousness. Recall is important, as is retention and awareness. Our app will help you to stop it with all the forgetfulness. Buy it today so you can remember tomorrow.

See, it's easy to avoid using a certain word.

Re:New Sample Product Description (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41981595)

Yeah, except the plebs who you want to buy this will search for 'memory' and your game will never show up.

Nominative use of competitor's mark (2)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981689)

I was under the impression that at least in some major markets, the description (not the title) was allowed to say "Compare to Memory by Ravensburger", just as makers of generic APAP preparations were allowed to say "Compare to Tylenol by McNeil".

Re:Nominative use of competitor's mark (1)

BattleApple (956701) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981845)

If the app store has some kind of tagging system, I would expect the developer could add the word 'memory' as a tag too

razor (1)

BattleApple (956701) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981519)

Didn't someone do the same thing with the word "razor" a few years ago?

Re:razor (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981993)

Didn't someone do the same thing with the word "razor" a few years ago?

Yes. It was Occam. My conclusion derived by the very razor of which you speak.

I'm tired of this ridiculous notion (1)

Lucas123 (935744) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981523)

Companies do not own words because they used them first. It's one thing to outright steal the name of a product. It's another thing to claim you own every word in that product's name.

Re:I'm tired of this ridiculous notion (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981853)

Companies do not own words because they used them first. It's one thing to outright steal the name of a product. It's another thing to claim you own every word in that product's name.

If you name your product with a word that describes some important aspect of your product, it will not get a trademark. Want to call your car company "Emu Cars"? You can get a trademark. If you want to call your car company "Wheels Cars"? You cannot go after people for using the world "Wheels" in their ads and descriptions.

Therefore, there is no way you can get a trademark on your graphical windowing system called "Windows".

Re:I'm tired of this ridiculous notion (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981931)

Try to create a program with the 'Word', 'Excel', or 'Windows' in it. I dare 'ya. ;-)

Sadly, like patents and copyright, trademarks have jumped the shark. Once they get granted, they're legally valid.

I would say that Ravensburger are penis heads, and whoever granted the word 'Memory' as a trademark is a complete moron. Now they're being memory nazi's. ;-)

I think I'll trademark Computer, Internet, Software, and Program .. and maybe a couple of adjectives like Big, Small, and Laughable. Oh, and for good measure "German morons with tiny penises".

This is truly absurd.

Prior Art... (0)

realsilly (186931) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981529)

Couldn't a Dictionary making company claim Prior Art?
and...
How is this any different then Apple stealing the name Apple from the Music label Apple?

Re:Prior Art... (2)

berashith (222128) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981613)

at the time, the music and computer companies sold such vastly different products that they were each allowed to use the names separately. they also agreed not to enter each others space. Hello, itunes!

Re:Prior Art... (1)

Desler (1608317) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981677)

Prior art has to do with patents. Trademarks are not patents... *facepalm*

Merely descriptive (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981741)

Patent law defines "not novel", or anticipated by the prior art, as a reason for rejecting a patent application. Trademarks are not patents, as you point out, but that doesn't necessarily mean that trademark law lacks anything remotely corresponding to "not novel" inventions. Instead, a mark can be "merely descriptive" [bitlaw.com] .

Re:Prior Art... (1)

bhlowe (1803290) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981719)

Apple paid enormous sums to settle the claims against the music company. Unless the game is a blatant rip off of the trademarked version, Apple should protect companies that have "memory" related apps.. there must be thousands.

Re:Prior Art... (3, Informative)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981807)

Couldn't a Dictionary making company claim Prior Art?

Probably not:
1. This isn't a patent, it's a trademark.
2. Trademarks are allowed to be common names so long as the name doesn't directly relate to the product being sold. For instance, "apple" can be trademarked for computing equipment, but not for fruit.

However, if the name "Memory" appears in any book of common card games as an alternate name of the game "Concentration" prior to the introduction of Hasbro's "Memory", then they're likely to be in trouble.

Not exactly Apple's fault (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41981557)

Blame the company enforcing their trademark.

Oh well... (0)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981565)

enjoy your garden.

Not Apple's fault but Ravensburger's (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981619)

What makes you think Ravensburger isn't going to send almost the same notice to the legal departments of Google Play and Amazon Appstore tomorrow?

Re:Not Apple's fault but Ravensburger's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41981783)

What makes you think they would be stupid enough to comply?

Re:Not Apple's fault but Ravensburger's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41981951)

The can and probably will. The difference here is that as a developer i can make the choice for myself weather or not i want to play in google/amazon's playground, making that decision can cost me money and exposure but its MY decision to make, I can change the name of my app and not worry about it, or i can get all pissed off and say fuck it, pull them from the store, and force the suing party to come after me personally, all while i still offer the app on my website or other websites or app stores as long as they allow it (and even if they don't i can can offer it ultimately just myself). It might not be an optimal choice but its a choice nonetheless, I have no real problem with apple making the decision its up to them, but they essentially just also made the decision for there developers and agree with it or not, you don't have much of a choice.

Overreaching? (5, Interesting)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981655)

Does this apply to all apps or just games? If it's just games then the claim may be indeed be legitimate (or not), but if it's all apps then it's certainly a case of overreaching by the trademark holder (or else an overreaction by Apple).

The most ridiculous element is the ban on the use of "memory" as a keyword. Trademark law was never intended to forbid others from naming competitors' products or from using trademarked words in their descriptive sense ("this game will enhance your memory and give you super-strength!").

Re:Overreaching? (0)

northernboy (661897) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981953)

Um, if you think that copyrighting/trademarking a common word is reaching, what about color?

I don't have links for the recent decision over red soles on women's shoes, nor the company in Germany that trademarked the color blue, but how about this item from 1995, in which Justice Breyer decided that companies DO have the right to trademark colors: http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1995-03-29/news/1995088024_1_color-trademark-protection-pink [baltimoresun.com]

Compared to that, a simple little thing like trademarking a common word is pretty tame.

Re:Overreaching? (1)

MrSenile (759314) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981997)

I have just released a brand new game.

I call the(tm) game 'The'. I have trademarked 'The' and any use of this word will be disallowed without royalties.
A new trademark list has been approved for the(tm) future games below.

Se(tm)e(tm) fre(tm)e(tm) pre(tm)vi(tm)e(tm)ws of the((tm)tm) fu(tm)tu(tm)re(tm) ga(tm)me(tm)s 'A', 'But', 'An', 'Or', a(tm)nd o(tm)u(tm)r a(tm)dd-i(tm)n mo(tm)du(tm)le(tm)s 'E', 'I', 'O', 'U', a(tm)nd 'Y'. (a(tm)ll ri(tm)ghts re(tm)se(tm)rve(tm)d).

This is actually good (5, Insightful)

Pirulo (621010) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981659)

Apple now has to comply with all IP notices as they are the champions of the game. Soon they will discover that is not possible.

Re:This is actually good (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981751)

...good

for lawyers. How come we are not running out of lawyers with all that kind of claim/crap.

I always thought.. (1)

cyberchondriac (456626) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981661)

You couldn't trademark a word of the English language, in and of itself - it would't hold up in US courts. You trademark a logo, an artistically stylized version of the word. The mere word itself is off limits to IP hucksters. Then again, I guess I doubt anyone else could come up with a new game and call it, "Monopoly" (how fitting) or "Sorry", or "Uno", or whatever.. so .. I dunno.. well, IANAL after all.

Re:I always thought.. (1)

Psyborgue (699890) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981903)

You're right, but if I send Apple a "legal" demand written in crayon on toilet paper they'll probably comply. Most companies will instead of risk legal action.

What fresh bullshit is this? (3, Insightful)

InterruptDescriptorT (531083) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981699)

Come on, Apple. This claim is bullshit. Stand up for the developers who make your App Store and ecosystem a success.

Fucking cowardice.

Re:What fresh bullshit is this? (0)

Quakeulf (2650167) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981819)

If Steve Jobs was alive he'd probably launch a counter-lawsuit against everyone and twist it so that he would have ended up with the eternal rights to anything related to even indirectly hinting to the usage of the term "memory" and then his followers would bend down even lower as he forces the latest firmware so far up their willing behinds so hard that I don't even care about karma anymore at this point.

This Gamasutra Article is Misleading. (0)

InvisibleClergy (1430277) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981745)

First off: Apple is only having people remove the apps in countries where the copyright is valid. Remember - U.S. public domain is not valid everywhere. I believe that copyright law is largely made of feces just as much as the next programmer, but this is not surprising.

Secondly: The article makes no mention of whether or not Apple is removing apps which use the word "Memory" outside of the context of the puzzle game for which Ravensburger holds the copyright. At least in U.S. copyright law, context and usage play important parts.

This would be a useful place to practice skeptical thinking. Why is Gamasutra writing this article? Why did they leave out these details? I would wager that the answer to these questions is, "To stir up shit."

Re:This Gamasutra Article is Misleading. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41981863)

Its not a copyright. Its a trademark.

Seriously, is anyone on Slashdot capable of getting even the basics right?

Re:This Gamasutra Article is Misleading. (5, Informative)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981885)

First off: Apple is only having people remove the apps in countries where the copyright is valid.

As an affected developer (actually from 3 years ago), I can tell you that it is a worldwide removal.

When Did Apple Legal Get So Dumb? (5, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981779)

A board game named 'Memory' is a specific piece of IP.

Which means, no one but the group that owns the rights to the IP of aforementioned board game is allowed, legally, to create a memory based board game and name it 'Memory.'

It does not mean that group owns all instances of the word memory.

It does not mean that group owns all instances of memory based board games.

This is simple, basic stuff.



WTF, Apple Legal? You're good enough at what you do to get a judgement against one of your competitors/suppliers for using goddamn rounded corners, but not good enough to point out something that's obvious to most 4th graders?

Re:When Did Apple Legal Get So Dumb? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41981937)

Further, board games are physical objects and not software, so this fails the moron in a hurry [wikipedia.org] test pretty handily.

Re:When Did Apple Legal Get So Dumb? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41982033)

A board game named 'Memory' is a specific piece of IP.

No it isn't. "Memory game" is a generic descriptive term that has been used for a long time to describe all games of this type. The fact that some dumbass at the trademark office allowed it to be registered doesn't mean it should be ruled valid in court.

Time for a throwdown (1)

Dachannien (617929) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981799)

In the US, Hasbro holds the trademark for "Memory" as applied to card matching games. So what happens if Hasbro decides to develop a "Memory" app for the iTunes store? (They already have one for Simon.) Who would Apple decide should win that battle?

"manufactured under license from Ravensburger" (4, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981893)

Ravensburger's US licensee would win. And that happens to be Hasbro.

Not just words (1)

Bogtha (906264) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981837)

A similar thing happened a few years ago with apps that displayed photos with white borders that were thicker along one edge. Apparently Polaroid have a design patent on that and complained to Apple. End result: apps can be rejected/removed from the App Store if they display a photo with a white border that is thicker along one side.

Something about trademarks and common words? (4, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981859)

Isn't there something about trademarks and common words not being eligible? Microsoft *almost* lost their Lindows case in a big way because of that. Anyone remember this case? Lindows was being sued by Microsoft, and Lindows was putting forth the argument that Microsoft is not entitled to the name "Windows" as a trademark. Microsoft paid Lindows to change their name and to dropped the case entirely.

That said, Apple is not a court. They are a company which is exposed to legal action by the holder of the trademark "Memory." Rather than take on that challenge for the greater good (something which I am sure Google would do) Apple has decided in favor of avoiding additional legal problems. It is their right to do so.

So, what should these small apps people do? Well, turns out, there is very little they can do. They can (a) license the use of the name Memory for their game (not something I imagine would be profitabe or even allowed) or (b) file a pre-emptive suit for the right to use the name or possibly (c) file a re-examination request with the trademark offices to see if it can get revoked. Of these, I would push in favor of (c) but even then, if successful, unless it were a big news story, Apple would likely ignore your assertion that "they no longer have the rights to that name, so please allow my app into your store."

Thesaurus (1)

corychristison (951993) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981867)

I have a feeling Thesaurus.com is going to get many requests for the word Memoey real soon.

Off the top of my head, some alternatives to Memory....
cognizance
memorization
recognition
recollection
retention

Ravensburger was the first (1)

The Car (1846356) | about a year and a half ago | (#41981895)

If I may.. from http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/7688/memory [boardgamegeek.com] :

First published in today's form by Ravensburger in February 1959.. There are hundreds of different Memory games - starting with 24 cards for the youngest.. The most famous publisher is Ravensburger - they have the rights for the brand name Memory - and they have really nice ones.

I still feel that banning the use of "memory" in a keyword is ridiculous.

What about Computer Memory Displays (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41981987)

I've stayed away from the Apple garden all my life and this may be a stupid question but....

What about programs that show how much memory is being used on the device? Would they be forced to stop, or is that one type of app that apple doesn't allow int he garden since it already has something that shows how much memory is being used?

I'm posting as AC since I don't want anyone to know how ignorant I am on Apple things.

iWhatever (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41981999)

In fairness, it would be difficult for Apple to object to this kind of trademark enforcement, had they the desire to do so, given how staunchly they defend their claim to the letter "i".

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