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MMO Fan Site Removes Character Stats Over Trademark Claim

timothy posted 1 year,5 days | from the please-don't-repeat-this dept.

The Courts 139

steveb3210 writes "EQ2Wire.com is a fan site for the MMO Everquest 2. One feature of their site is a searchable portal for all game-related stats such as characters, equipment, items, and mobs which they generate from an XML feed provided by the game's publisher. Recently, the owner of a trademark has been threatening them over the name of a character and in the face of possible legal bills, they were forced to remove the character's profile from their site. Adding further insult to injury, the character seems to have been created prior to the trademark in question."

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Attention! Attention! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44383467)

I hereby trademark "Anonymous Coward". You are all infringing by reading what I say. Pay me $10.

Re:Attention! Attention! (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44383973)

show me your balls

Re:Attention! Attention! (5, Funny)

RenderSeven (938535) | 1 year,5 days | (#44384315)

No problem. I'll need your name, address, social security number, and bank information to get the transfer from Nigeria going.

Re:Attention! Attention! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44384659)

*sigh* ok... I'll send the payment. Give me your contact information... or, bank account information and I'll deposit directly.

Re:Attention! Attention! (2)

Darinbob (1142669) | 1 year,5 days | (#44384989)

Would you like that in Bitcoin or Zimbabwe dollars?

Creation date (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44383473)

the character seems to have been created prior to the trademark in question
 
Too bad there's not some 'first copyright use trumps filing of intent-to-use trademark application" doctrine to make that relevant.
 
Sometimes it's hard to read the IP coverage here, really hard.

Re:Creation date (5, Insightful)

tiberus (258517) | 1 year,5 days | (#44384099)

Too bad there's not some 'first copyright use trumps filing of intent-to-use trademark application" doctrine to make that relevant.

Umm, there is but, in the case of the character name it's not being used in commerce (trade) so, I'm at a loss of how trademark law would apply. Had this been a valid trademark case, the person who owns the character could have filed to have the filing removed but, there are just too many buts in this case

I handle trademark and some copyright stuff for a small non-profit. I've never had to threaten anyone and I've never pretended to be a lawyer, I just ask nice, explain and get good results. Had I come across a MMO character name that was the same as our trademark (which begs the question of how I found it, as I only look for infringement in places where infringement is likely to happen and cause harm), I at most would have been amused and can't imagine why I would contact anyone.

In all my cases it's either been 1) I don't want people to think we are associated with you or 2) your use is likely to cause confusion of the brand. The case against the OP is sad and laughable.

Re:Creation date (5, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | 1 year,5 days | (#44384153)

I know someone (I don't like this person) that works at a firm that enforces copyright as a service. It's very simple, they get a contract to find infringement. They have teams of people that use scripted software to find said infringement, then they GET PAID BASED ON HOW MUCH THEY FIND. They send their lists on to the legal department who gets it taken down. Then the client gets a bill... we found X number of infringements, we got Y taken down, Here are the ones you'll have to take to court, you owe us Z.

All the ones that just take them down without a fight never even get to the content owner. They just pay a fee to not deal with them. Does it make more sense now?

Re:Creation date (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44384467)

This.

That's something I've noticed a lot of in the age of outsourcing and subcontracting. Payment to subcontractors is based on quantity, not quality. Instead of doing something reasonable like saying "We are going to hire you to perform this service for X amount of time for Y amount of dollars and your performance during X amount of time will determine renewal of the contract", companies will engage in the idiotic scheme you expertly described.

Re:Creation date (1)

tiberus (258517) | 1 year,5 days | (#44384787)

I know someone (I don't like this person)

Let's take a shot in the dark and guess it's a lot stronger than "don't like".

GET PAID BASED ON HOW MUCH THEY FIND.
Does it make more sense now?

Nope, it doesn't make one damn bit of sense. Although, I do think it would be a hoot to get a notice from one of them.

Commerce (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44384427)

If in game wealth creation is taxable, than IMHO your character is being used in legitimate commerce.

Re:Commerce (1)

shentino (1139071) | 1 year,5 days | (#44384625)

Taxability does not imply legitimacy.

Just ask Al Capone.

Re:Creation date (1)

shentino (1139071) | 1 year,5 days | (#44384615)

As with most david vs goliath stories, the law applies however the side with the biggest legal budget says it does.

Re:Creation date (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44385051)

Had I come across a MMO character name that was the same as our trademark (which begs the question of how I found it, as I only look for infringement in places where infringement is likely to happen and cause harm), I at most would have been amused and can't imagine why I would contact anyone.

I am sorry what is your first premise again? Begging the question [begthequestion.info] is a logical fallacy in which a statement or claim is assumed to be true without evidence other than the statement or claim itself. So how does a trademark being used as a name beg the question?

Re:Creation date (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | 1 year,5 days | (#44385335)

" handle trademark and some copyright stuff for a small non-profit. I've never had to threaten anyone and I've never pretended to be a lawyer, I just ask nice, explain and get good results."

As TFA mentions, as long as there is no confusion between the EQII character and whatever product or service "Malshandir" produces, his trademark claim is invalid.

Second, according to international law, it isn't where somebody ACCESSES the internet that is of relevance to the law; it is where the information is sourced. Any other scheme is simply unworkable.

So, if I have an online store in Tennessee, and you purchase something from your home in London, the transaction takes place under Tennessee (and U.S.) law.

Similarly, if I have a brand or trademark or copyright in the United States, and publish on the Web from there, it is subject to U.S. law, not whatever country you happen to be in when you visit the site.

As I say: any other scheme is unworkable. There is no way every individual in the world can be held responsible for every 3rd-world country or tyrannical law everywhere on Earth. That would be the end of the internet.

Re:Creation date (4, Insightful)

bfandreas (603438) | 1 year,5 days | (#44384399)

Nevertheless, the guy is a sleazebag. There are several pointers to this guy operating out of the basement of his mom's house and being a pure troll with no merit whatsoever to his claims:

An Arcor email address. He doesn't have his own domain and uses a consumer-level ISP issued email service.
A German owning an UK Ltd. smells. Smells of destitution. There are a couple of strings attached to a German GmbH. Prior businesses gone bust, outstanding claims and other doubts concerning his reliability will prevent him from forming one.


This guy is all noise and no brawn to back it up. If I'd run a popular EQ2 site I would ask if one of the users was a lawyer and would be willing to represent this guy with a snarky lawyerese snail-mail letter containing substantial speculation about the insubstantial size of his male member. Pro bono(which is legalese for "for the lulz").

Re:Creation date (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44385703)

They should have just told the guy to fuck off. Some idiot Kraut isn't going to be able to successfully file an international lawsuit against them anyhow. They should have called his bluff.

Re:Creation date (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44384445)

"Too bad there's not some 'first copyright use trumps filing of intent-to-use trademark application" doctrine"

There kinda is. It's just called "being the first to use the trademark". You don't have to file any paperwork to have a trademark. So if you establish a trademark without filing and then someone else comes along and files to register that same trademark and will use it in the same industry then you can have their application thrown out.

Had the character name actually been used as a trademark, then the owner of the character name could have done just that. But since the character name isn't actually a trademark, the only options for the character name owner are to take the chance that they will be sued and then try to dismiss the suit or just give in to this ridiculous demand.

What? (3, Insightful)

Desler (1608317) | 1 year,5 days | (#44383493)

This part was amusing:

The misusage of a trademark is a crime and has serious consequence as civil case and criminal case.

Haha what? Is there really a country that has criminalized the using of someone else's trademark? Or is the guy writing these letters really as stupid as he sounds?

Re: What? (1)

roninmagus (721889) | 1 year,5 days | (#44383517)

Have you not heard? Everything is now a crime.

Re: What? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44383571)

And we're tracking everything you say and do. You have a criminal list that dates back to 2001. We just never got around to prosecuting you mostly because you didn't tick off the wrong folk.

Re: What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44383795)

+1 scary

Re: What? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44384101)

I'm an anonymous lawyer for Google, and you've infringed our rights by typing "+1". Pay me USD$9001.00 and I'll make sure any criminal charges go away.

Re: What? (1)

macbeth66 (204889) | 1 year,5 days | (#44385455)

-1

Re: What? (1)

jxander (2605655) | 1 year,5 days | (#44384093)

Complaining about the fact that everything is a crime will be viewed as a form of verbal littering, which is also a crime.

Re:What? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44383543)

Sounds like someone is trolling them, just like fake DMCA takedowns being sent to sites, illegal surly, but its still fairly common.

Re:What? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44383675)

There were so many typos in that that I don't think it was a real lawyer, just some guy who doesn't speak much English.

I'm no lawyer, but isn't it that with trademarks you can only sue if its in the same kind of field. They are used or intended to be used to identify and distinguish the goods/services of one seller or provider from those of others.

  You can get a trademark for food products, but can't sue someone in electronics unless they also make food products or you are going to get into electronics. Were they going to start a video game character company?

Re:What? (3, Informative)

Aerokii (1001189) | 1 year,5 days | (#44383729)

The man who sent the email in question was no lawyer, since his later threats allude to having a lawyer start sending form letters and what not.

As far as I can tell he doesn't have a case, but I'm quite far from being an international IP attorney, and between knowing when to hold and when to fold... well, a simple character name is definitely a fold, when you get into the costs of this sort of thing.

Not to say it doesn't piss me right off. This person created the name before the bad-spelling-person ever filed for a trademark. I'd say "That's like Disney suing someone named Mickey before they even created him", but... I worry Disney could have gotten away with that.

Re:What? (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | 1 year,5 days | (#44383859)

It doesn't matter whether the person suing you has a case or not, when you don't have the money to defend yourself. Unless you can find someone to agree to foot your legal bills in the event that you're sued, you're pretty much at the mercy of anyone who threatens to sue.

Re:What? (1)

Aerokii (1001189) | 1 year,5 days | (#44384009)

Yes, I agree with that entirely- hence my suggestion that this is a "fold", meaning that it's not worth fighting. My reaction would not have been unlike what the original writer's was- especially when faced with a legal threat.

But this points to a larger issue with society that's been argued on Slashdot n+1 times as is, and I can add little new to that conversation. Suffice to say it worries me tremendously that societies exist in which one can be silenced by spurious or outright invalid legal threats.

Re:What? (5, Insightful)

Sperbels (1008585) | 1 year,5 days | (#44384645)

It's not worth fighting....it's worth totally ignoring. This kitty has a nasty meow, but no teeth or claws.

Re:What? (2)

Znork (31774) | 1 year,5 days | (#44385391)

This. Don't respond to crazies like this, if you're not forcing them to serve you a notice physically or at least via mail you're encouraging their crazy. Don't argue with them, don't cave to them, dont send any reply of any kind. If the guy is coherent enough and tenacious enough to actually engage in a valid serving then it might be worth either caving to or letting a lawyer take a look at it and reply to it, but in no way engage the asshat in an argument that you simply cannot in any way benefit from.

Re:What? (2)

Internetuser1248 (1787630) | 1 year,5 days | (#44384067)

It is actually depressingly common in Germany for people to do this, they send letters in the hope that you will settle out of court for a small amount. I have never heard of them going after a website, it is usually individuals with downloads, but maybe since it was ruled unconstitutional here for ISPs to save the information of users that might have become more difficult. At least he is trying something new. German/European courts are quite fair, they also do not tolerate frivolous lawsuits. Private litigation is not anywhere near as common or as easy as in the US.

Re:What? (1)

JockTroll (996521) | 1 year,5 days | (#44384231)

you're pretty much at the mercy of anyone who threatens to sue.

Depends. Do you know Italian? Learn to write "Sparisci o zio Vincenzo da Taormina verrà su e ti taglierà la gola. Capisce?"

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44384063)

"That's like Disney suing someone named Mickey before they even created him", but... I worry Disney could have gotten away with that.

Believe it or not, that actualy happened. However, Disney didn't sue him, they hired him.

Rooney later claimed that, during his Mickey McGuire days, he met cartoonist Walt Disney at the Warner Brothers studio, and that Disney was inspired to name Mickey Mouse after him,[5] although Disney always said that he had changed the name from "Mortimer Mouse" to "Mickey Mouse" on the suggestion of his wife.[6]

Re:What? (1)

Aerokii (1001189) | 1 year,5 days | (#44384077)

Huh! You learn something new every day- how interesting! Thanks for sharing this ^^

Dont play poker (1)

Arker (91948) | 1 year,5 days | (#44385311)

This is a straight bluff, and not even very well done. If you fold to that you will lose your shirt everytime.

The guy getting these stupid emails should have just trashed them and not responded instead of wasting his time treating it like a serious concern.

Re:What? (5, Informative)

Baloroth (2370816) | 1 year,5 days | (#44383587)

The whole claim is spurious. First, it's a European registered (but expired, apparently) trademark, and therefore not enforceable against a US business (yes, trademarks are regional: you can have an unrelated "SodaPop Industries" in two different regions of one country, and neither infringes the other unless they expand into the others region). Second, the trademark is for a business, it doesn't cover video game account names. A username isn't a trademark at all: to be a trademark, it has to be actually doing trade. Unless someone is running a business under that name (and a business in a similar field as the complainant), there is no infringement. Finally, the indexing website isn't using the name to identify itself, it's a search portal. Even if it was a trademark, and an infringing one, the EQ2Wire.com wouldn't be infringing in any way by indexing it.

Re:What? (5, Informative)

Dzimas (547818) | 1 year,5 days | (#44383755)

The trademark is valid until May 29, 2019. It covers various trade classes including Nice 41m which incorporates Betrieb von Online-Spiele, Foren-Rollenspiele (operation of online games and "play by post/email" games). So the complainant has a valid EU trademark that covers roll playing games. That said, it appears that the company registration has expired, which puts the ownership of the trademark into question. As far as the US site's position goes, the complainant would have to demonstrate that the American site is using the trademarked name for commerce within the EU. That would be hard to prove, especially since the product in question is a computer game owned and operated by Sony; the defendant is merely operating an online catalog of Sony's game characters. This case would therefore be akin to Disney seeking redress from a website that lists cartoon characters including trademarked properties such as Mickey Mouse, in a jurisdiction where Mickey Mouse is not a registered trademark of the Walt Disney Co.

Re:What? (5, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | 1 year,5 days | (#44383961)

Ah, I see the trademark now. Of course, it wasn't filed until 2009 (which really does matter: registered or not, using a trademark that is already in use elsewhere does not entitle you to force the other to take it down). However, and much more importantly, the Everquest name isn't being used to sell anything. It's frankly nothing like Disney seeking to take down trademarked content, because the mark isn't being used for trade. The point of trademarks is to reduce confusion among consumers: since nothing is being sold with or under the name (by either Sony, EQ2Wire, or the account holder, presumably) it's not a trademark and therefore can't infringe.

If Sony had made a game with that name in it, he might have a point (although, even there, unless the character in it bears a resemblance to some character he is likewise selling, he probably has very little case), but the name was created by a user, not by Sony. It isn't even part of the product.

Small point (1)

Peter Simpson (112887) | 1 year,5 days | (#44384001)

The trademark in question is registered to Herr Freyer, not to the (dissolved) Malshandir Ltd. So he owns it and it hasn't expired.

Re:What? (1)

steveb3210 (962811) | 1 year,5 days | (#44384159)

Sony does publish EQ2 in europe via a company called ProSieben..

Re:What? (1)

Tharkkun (2605613) | 1 year,5 days | (#44384371)

The trademark is valid until May 29, 2019. It covers various trade classes including Nice 41m which incorporates Betrieb von Online-Spiele, Foren-Rollenspiele (operation of online games and "play by post/email" games). So the complainant has a valid EU trademark that covers roll playing games. That said, it appears that the company registration has expired, which puts the ownership of the trademark into question. As far as the US site's position goes, the complainant would have to demonstrate that the American site is using the trademarked name for commerce within the EU. That would be hard to prove, especially since the product in question is a computer game owned and operated by Sony; the defendant is merely operating an online catalog of Sony's game characters. This case would therefore be akin to Disney seeking redress from a website that lists cartoon characters including trademarked properties such as Mickey Mouse, in a jurisdiction where Mickey Mouse is not a registered trademark of the Walt Disney Co.

You can't trademark a character in a game. You lose all rights and in most cases it's against the EULA to use a trademarked name in the first place. If I use any Lord of the Rings names I can be petitioned to force a change.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44385347)

If I use any Lord of the Rings names I can be petitioned to force a change.

So basically 80% of MMORPG character names are at risk?

Re:What? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44383769)

It could be their business is "grinding mobs for loot to sell to other players". Then the MMO angle is there...

Re:What? (1)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | 1 year,5 days | (#44384279)

If this complaint is valid, then any Slashdot user name which contains a term that is trademarked anywhere on the planet would be subject to deletion (or at least forced renaming.)

If I decided I didn't like a user here, I could attack them by trademarking the person's user name and then submitting a complaint!

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44383927)

This part was amusing:

The misusage of a trademark is a crime and has serious consequence as civil case and criminal case.

Haha what? Is there really a country that has criminalized the using of someone else's trademark? Or is the guy writing these letters really as stupid as he sounds?

Uh, I'm pretty sure most of them have, at least in some circumstances. Have a bunch of watches made up with "Rolex" printed on them and start selling them on the street corner and see what happens.

Re:What? (1)

Desler (1608317) | 1 year,5 days | (#44384043)

Obviously counterfeiting is illegal, but hardly seems relevant to the topic at hand which is about using a trademark as a name in a game. Obviously my statement was about the latter.

Re:What? (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | 1 year,5 days | (#44384355)

The entire purpose of trademark protection is to prevent shady outfits from selling inferior or dangerous products under a competitor's brand. It is what allows you to confidently buy BrandX pharmaceutical and know that it wasn't prepared in a trailer home drug lab. So yes it is valuable to society to criminalize such activity.

New name.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44383527)

Been looking for a new in-game name for Steam. Found it! Considering there's nearly 3300 people using "Fluttershy" on Steam, something tells me Valve DGAF.

Hell no!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44383529)

If someone decides to name their company the same name as one of my existing World of Warcraft characters, or maybe one of their products named after one of them, etc, they can go FUCK themselves! If I'm first, I'm first! Get over it.

Re:Hell no!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44383589)

personal anecdote - When I played WoW, I made a male, Alliance-aligned feral druid and named him "Merlotte".

Cue several years later, and on HBO's True Blood (and in the Sookie Stackhouse novels, but I hadn't heard of them yet) there is a shapeshifter named Sam Merlotte.

Complete coincidence....am I guilty of copyright infringement? Not only is it the same name, same spelling, but they are both male, do-gooder shapeshifters.

Re:Hell no!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44383687)

Wow!! A real-world example of what I'm talking about and it happens to be a WoW character, like my example. Yeah, that's crazy!

Hey, all my characters are alliance. I hate the horde. Just last night, I got a little too close to a tower I never explored before with my lvl 70, and two high level horde NPCs killed me. I came back from the graveyard for revenge and my priest died again!! AHHHHHHHH damn horde! Almost done with the Outlands!

Re:Hell no!! (1)

vux984 (928602) | 1 year,5 days | (#44383707)

I wouldn't read much into it its an uncommon last name with that exact spelling, but its not that uncommon.

/boot (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44383535)

Chances are said character just got booted from his guild for being teh lamez.

wtf? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44383557)

this company has a trademark to the name for use with game characters? trademarks are limited in scope, not all-encompassing-anything-with-the-name exclusivity. e.g. there can be a mcdonald's roofing, just like there's a mcdonald's restaurant.. but there can be only one mcdonald's restaurant... and that restaurant chain can't do a damn thing about mcdonald's roofing unless they start selling prepared food.

they have no business demanding, or even asking, for its removal. period....

Re:wtf? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44383613)

You're right. If my name was Jim McDonald and I wanted to start a roofing company, McDonald's can bet their ASSES I'm going to call my company "McDonald's Roofing". They would lose. People should not give up their fights against evil corporations!

Re:wtf? (1)

dywolf (2673597) | 1 year,5 days | (#44383837)

Don't be so sure. KFC sued Col Sanders and got him legally barred from using his own name and his own likeness to open up a new restruant chain after he left the company. The wording was broad enough that he couldnt use them in-any- business, let alone food oriented.

Re:wtf? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44383865)

Scopes: MYTH!

Re:wtf? (2)

Jeff Flanagan (2981883) | 1 year,5 days | (#44384139)

Scopes: Monkey trial.

Re:wtf? (2)

UberChuckie (529086) | 1 year,5 days | (#44383949)

There is also this case: Nissan Motor vs Nissan Computer. http://www.digest.com/Big_Story.php [digest.com]

Re:wtf? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44385007)

Nissan Motor vs Nissan Computer [internetlibrary.com] says Nissan motors lost.

Finally, the Ninth Circuit held that issues of fact as to when Nissan Motor's "Nissan" mark became famous precluded an award of summary judgment to plaintiffs on their dilution claims. To establish a claim under the FTDA, a plaintiff must show "that (1) its mark is famous; (2) the defendant is making commercial use of the mark in commerce; (3) the defendant's use began after the plaintiff's mark became famous." Importantly, however, the statute further provides that plaintiff's mark must become famous before defendant's commercial and potentially diluting use of the mark began.

Re:wtf? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44384903)

I'm calling bullshit. [wikipedia.org] Googling "kfc col sanders suit" only returns items about KFC's President buying Sander's white suit. The only lawsuit mentioned in the wikipedia article is KFC suing him for slander -- and losing -- because he said their gravy tasted like "wallpaper paste" to which "sludge" was added.

I wonder who modded you up before checking? Moderators, don't be so easily hoodwinked -- before you mod someone up, check their facts. If you're too lazy to do that, don't moderate at all, it isn't mandatory.

Re:wtf? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44383765)

this company has a trademark to the name for use with game characters? trademarks are limited in scope, not all-encompassing-anything-with-the-name exclusivity. e.g. there can be a mcdonald's roofing, just like there's a mcdonald's restaurant.

But the article is talking about a fan site, so it's obviously in the same limited scope, because it's about the same thing. It's like using McDonald's trademark on your own site about McDonald's hamburgers, not an entirely unrelated business.

Re:wtf? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44383883)

A video game fan site, not a fan site of the Malshandir company

Re:wtf? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44384061)

Except for the Olympics... when they were in Seattle, I heard the OIC was suing companies like "Olympic Cleaners" and "Olympic Car Repair"..... ....because it was on the Olympic peninsula.

Re:wtf? (1)

CanadianMacFan (1900244) | 1 year,5 days | (#44384369)

I don't know. McDonald's the restaurant might have something against the roofing company by the same name. After all they've been serving asphalt shingles disguised as burgers for decades now.

Re:wtf? (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | 1 year,5 days | (#44384383)

Even other McDonald's resturants exist. They tried to sue some chippie in Scotland with completely different trade dress a while back. The idea that a Scottish judge would stop a Scotsman from using his own very Scottish name was faintly hilarious. The golden arches lost and common sense prevailed.

[citation needed]

Re:wtf? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | 1 year,5 days | (#44384539)

they have no business demanding, or even asking, for its removal. period....

Technically, trademarks have to be enforced - otherwise you end up with escalators and the like.

Basically, a trademark owner has to do two things - use it or lose it, and defend the mark. The first means you cannot register something you're not going to use - in fact, if you don't use it, you can lose it (it was one of the arguments Apple put up for iPhone - because Cisco wasn't actively using it - which forced Cisco to slap "Iphone" stickers on their voip boxes). The second means when you see someone else using your trademark, you have to defend it or risk it being genericized (like escalator).

The latter you see all the time - when Apple sues someone for using Apple or the logo, or when someone copied the Johnny Walker design on their movie, etc. Of course, the response varies, the usual MO is a C&D letter which can either demand a full take down, or some licensing terms.

Usually all you need is a response saying no, it doesn't apply, blah blah blah and do nothing. Because of the legal requirements of defense, usually the takedowns are sent far and wide to show that they are doing it, and it usually hits everyone who incidentally uses the mark in passing.

Now.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44383603)

I am going to go create characters in every game I play with that name.. Woohooo...

Ever-what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44383627)

Who still plays that shit?

WTF

Trademarks apply within the Trade field (5, Informative)

RichMan (8097) | 1 year,5 days | (#44383721)

Trademarks apply within the Trade field of the company that registers the trademark.
You can't do Nike sports wear. But Nike is not a gaming company. You can make a Nike game.

The appropriate response to any trademark take down request is -
a) send me a notarized copy of a trademark registration document for the trademark in question that is currently valid in the country you wish to assert your ownership.
b) explain to me how the usage in this context infringes on your trademark. In your explaination cover
          i) physical locality of the usage you claim infringes and its relationship to region your trademark registration is in
          ii) a detailed description of how the usage in the claimed infringement conflicts with the registered usage.
c) notice that failure to do a) b) will result in no action taken on my part. Insufficient detail and in particular legal grounding for the explanation provided in b) will result in delays and requests for more details. In particular a simple claim in b) that "they used our trademark" without any attempt at detailing domain of usage conflicts will result in the ignoring of your request as insufficiently documented.

Re:Trademarks apply within the Trade field (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44384251)

While this is true, a fansite, doesn't have the funds to defend itself.

Most likely the tradmark claim is spurious and would be thrown out, BUT how many thousands would the website have to spend to defend itself?

this is the problem with our current legal system, there is no protection against it being used as a blackmail, extortion device.

Re:Trademarks apply within the Trade field (1)

Rinikusu (28164) | 1 year,5 days | (#44384293)

d) suck my balls.

I realize english might not be the "attorney"'s first language, but his entire email exchange sounds like a shake down.

Re:Trademarks apply within the Trade field (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | 1 year,5 days | (#44384469)

Point c) above is legaleze for "suck my balls", so d) is redundant.

Coz? (4, Insightful)

Sperbels (1008585) | 1 year,5 days | (#44383751)

Not sure I would seriously consider legal threats from someone who uses the word "coz" in their email.

Re:Coz? (5, Insightful)

Deimos24601 (904979) | 1 year,5 days | (#44383791)

Not sure I would seriously consider legal threats received via email, period.

Give them what they want (2)

Sponge Bath (413667) | 1 year,5 days | (#44383899)

Change the entry from Malshandir to Malshandork.

hi (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44383959)

my co-worker's step-sister makes $83 hourly on the net. She has been discharged for 6 months however last month her pay check was $19589 simply acting on the net for a number of hours. Here's the location to scan additional
Read more at... www.bay92.Com

admin made the wrong call (1)

Gravis Zero (934156) | 1 year,5 days | (#44383979)

it's lame that the admin caved to the demands of one loudmouth guy with a misdirected claim.

I am publishing information provided publicly by Sony Online Entertainment.

this is the only part that matters. instead he bickers with the loudmouth and finally caves. he should have just responded with that and ignored all further correspondence.

Malshandir (5, Funny)

Malshandir (2996891) | 1 year,5 days | (#44384113)

Malshandir is the character name. I have no idea why the summary didn't post it. Kinda a cool name. When I get home, I'm gonna create a character/profile with that name in: Youtube Diablo 3 World of Warcraft Guild Wars Guild Wars 2 XBox Live Slashdot (oh wait, I already did that one). And anywhere else I can think of. But seriously, WTF?!?

Re:Malshandir (1)

Malshandir (2996891) | 1 year,5 days | (#44384135)

Sorry about the formatting...haven't set up my preferences yet in my new account :-)

Re:Malshandir (2)

Beorytis (1014777) | 1 year,5 days | (#44384601)

Incidentally: http://malshandir.tumblr.com/ [tumblr.com]

YW

I think I may write a song called "Malshandir" too.

Re:Malshandir (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44385115)

Well done, you deserve to be modded up for this. Posting AC incase I get mod points tomorrow.

Re:Malshandir (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44384899)

Sorry, dude. You need two words for a GW1 character.

Re:Malshandir (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44385567)

http://us.battle.net/wow/en/search?q=Malshandir

You think this guy's going after Blizzard? I bet not.

Legal extortion?? (1)

zildgulf (1116981) | 1 year,5 days | (#44384121)

IMHO, this seems to be a variation of what Prenda Law [wikipedia.org] is doing. I guarantee it won't stop until a handful of lawyer get convicted of perjury and serve some stiff sentences.

Perversion of Trademark (3, Informative)

organgtool (966989) | 1 year,5 days | (#44384179)

The original intent of trademarks was to prevent people from releasing products under the same corporate or product name. It was not intended to stifle free speech in order to provide corporations with a cash cow so that they can charge people for sharing information about products. Part of me would recommend standing up for yourself and refusing to take down the content since their claims are somewhat spurious. The other half of me would recommend replacing the content useful to the Everquest community with a notice that a greedy corporation has made overreaching trademark claims and the content is being taken down to prevent any beneficial side effects it might have generated for that company's intellectual property.

Balls the size of raisins... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44384227)

"I don’t tolerate bullies, and I don’t tolerate threats." ... but I'm going to bend over and do every single thing you asked me to without fighting! Please don't hurt me!

Oh my freaking god (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | 1 year,5 days | (#44384239)

From TFA:

> Even if you are not in the EU all countries have agreed
> in merchant cases to accept the decision of the
> wedish handelskammer in Stockholm.

"Wedish handelskammer" would make a good name for a dwarf character.

Since when is a video game character a "trade"? (1)

harvestsun (2948641) | 1 year,5 days | (#44384245)

Trademarks cover tradeable products and services, which are "are identical or 'colourfully' similar" to other products or services. It's right in the fucking name. TRADEmark.

This claim would only have merit if EQ2Wire was selling the character account, and if Malshandir (the company) also was involved in the video game account... industry.

First, a proof... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44384569)

Could the lawyer produce some kind of proof they own the trademark to that name in the domain of videogames?
I'd like to see the trademark&patent office's document granting the trademark for that domain. Otherwise, the claim is bogus.

And so it begins (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44384965)

Create a fund (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | 1 year,5 days | (#44385071)

There should be a fund to help people fight these spurious claims. Maybe it could be run by a white hat IP firm. I bet there is at least one firm out there who would jump at the chance to have a tag line like "We hate patent/trademark trolls too. Lets do it the right way". I know I would give the fund a few bucks occasionally to keep it going. Another resource would be a site with links to all these great stories about what happened to the troll. I bet most trolls would back off pretty fast when faced with the consequences of their actions. Maybe even add a few boiler plate legal looking documents to send back to the troll; fight fire with fire.

I have an idea (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | 1 year,5 days | (#44385111)

This is ridiculous. I'm changing my Control Wizard's name in Neverwinter to "Pepsi" in protest.

boo hoo (1)

Spazmania (174582) | 1 year,5 days | (#44385141)

Another guy caves because some generic dude on the Internet sent him some baseless but threatening letters. I'll play a sad song on my tiny violin.

At least let the guy get sued before reporting it as actual news.

COWARDS (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44385193)

Recently, we have read the story of how the owners of the 'James Bond' rights sent a letter to Monolith DEMANDING that they cancelled all work on their first-person shooter 'No One Lives Forever', and to furnish proof of the cancellation within 10 days. Monolith, understanding that anyone can create their own unique spy spoof product without any permission from anyone, simply ignored the threat- and 18 months later delivered a great computer game.

When you are in the right and have no connection to property owned by people behind any legal threat, you simply ignore the threat. Responding, as the filthy shills advise you to do, actually acknowledges that the threat has some validity, and this complicates your legal position in all kinds of ways.

Should the criminals behind the threat take the most unlikely step of acting on the threat, THEN you act.

Remember, threats are issued by disgusting lawyer scum because it is an easy form of income for them (especially if the threatened party is dumb enough to respond, generating further letters that the client has to pay for). For the client employing the crooked lawyers, it is the cheapest form of 'legal' (yeah, right) action. Moving beyond threats to actual action elevates the costs and risks to the client. A threatening letter has no downside, but unjustified legal attacks against the previously threatened party has all kinds of potential downsides.

Also, most threats today are part of an automated process that has no Human hanging on the other end waiting to see what happens. Dealing with machine 'logic' is far different from dealing with a Human. Refusing to respond to threat one probably leads to an automated threat two sometime in the following months. Ignoring that will mean at worst that the threatening agency will now assign a Human to look at the case, and understand that it is mistaken. This is why if you are obviously in the right, you never respond to threats.

PS should Slashdot really be promoting stories along the lines of "I'm a cowardly scumbag, too thick to get good advice, who therefore got scared, bent over, and let the other party have me.". What next? A story about how this person allowed himself to be robbed by a mugger armed with a banana?

Trolls contact info (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44385741)

i just hope the geek rage of /. users finds its way to him in the form of packets, pornados and all sorts of fun don't forget to say hi on mingle! :P

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