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Got a flappy bird game? Been hit with a cease order? READ

jigglybeanjigglybean Posts: 1,584Member

firm going by the name Ultimate Arcade, Inc. has launched an aggressive campaign to trademark the use of the word 'Flappy' in video games.

Going further than simple trademark protection, Ultimate Arcade has also sent out a flurry of trademark infringement notices to developers who've used the word 'Flappy' to ride the coattails of the late Flappy Bird.

In the notice, Ultimate Arcade claims that it is "the owner of the trademark FLAPPYTM for computer games" and has record of its usage dating back "at least" to 2006.

Reality, however, paints a different picture.

Story is on Pocketgamer.biz

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Comments

  • HopscotchHopscotch Posts: 2,782Member, PRO

    "...several members of the Corona Labs forums claimed they received similar notices."

    What? Corona developers also make flappy clones? How deep does this rabbit hole go!?

  • AdamgoproAdamgopro Posts: 310Member

    yep i got hit with this apple has asked me to to remove my game from stores until i get this resolved with ultimate arcade? is there no possible way i can win this?

  • JDuaneJJDuaneJ San Francisco Posts: 300Member

    Bunch of bull crap. Stand firm guys, i'm sure there is no legal recourse for games published before the patent is/was awarded. (not even sure it was was it?)

  • HopscotchHopscotch Posts: 2,782Member, PRO
    edited March 2014

    If your Trademark application gets awarded, then it counts from the day of your initial application.

    Normally it would be a gamble, continue to "flappy" in the hope it doesn't go through, but maybe have drama later on.

    Problem is that Apple makes you take your app down until it is resolved.

  • SocksSocks London, UK.Posts: 12,822Member

    I've registered AlienDeathLesbians™, already spending the money.

  • HopscotchHopscotch Posts: 2,782Member, PRO

    @Socks, didn't do your homework? Your "Alien-" against my "Sugarcoated-" prefix, expect a tarnishment claim!

  • SocksSocks London, UK.Posts: 12,822Member

    @Hopscotch said:
    Socks, didn't do your homework? Your "Alien-" against my "Sugarcoated-" prefix, expect a tarnishment claim!

    Sticks Hopscotch on my 'to be whacked' list.

  • BobDBobD Posts: 374Member, PRO

    Instead of taking your app down can you just change the name in iTunes until it get resolved?

  • tenrdrmertenrdrmer Posts: 9,934Member, Sous Chef, Senior Sous-Chef

    Anyone who made a clone made it to ride the coattails of flappy bird. You knew what you where doing when you did it and should have expect this eventually. And you might be able to win but first you have have to decide if you can financially afford the fight. Companies like this have resources most people don't and since your game is literally a clone riding the coat tails of another I doubt any lawyer is gonna take your case for free.

    It's not my fault I never learned to take responsibility for anything. ;)

  • HopscotchHopscotch Posts: 2,782Member, PRO
  • BobDBobD Posts: 374Member, PRO

    Can I trademark "Bird"? Now how many apps have "Bird" in the name?

  • WbokoWboko Tennessee, USAPosts: 621Member, PRO

    I am trade marking.... "Game" and "App" today!

  • BBEnkBBEnk Posts: 1,764Member
    edited March 2014

    I think I'm gonna trademark the letters "A,E,I,O,U and maybe Y or W". and I better not see them on Wheel of Fortune.

    Whenever I here of these things, it reminds me of Groucho Marx and Warner Brothers.

    https://www.chillingeffects.org/resource.cgi?ResourceID=31

  • fishZombiefishZombie Posts: 46Member, PRO

    You can not copywrite a game mechanism. You can copywrite the name, and you can copywrite the code. Meaning: Is you use the same solution for your flappy bird clone as he used to make flappy bird, THEN they can come after you. If your solution is different then their's then there is nothing they can do. I had this trouble when designing a boardgame. I didn't want someone to just take my idea and run with it, after the pitch. They can take my idea, and they can alter it slightly, and it's totally legal. So if your Flappy Bird is Called Flappy Snake, or Flappy Squirl, and it flies through sharp rocks, or stinky socks, then it's totally legal. Look at all the clones of Angry Birds. A ton of Viking vs. Pirates, or Goats vs. Ogres with exactly the same setup, and even many of the levels look the same. No problems. Monopoly, or Sexopoly, NFLopoly, etc. Apple copywrited their method for smooth scrolling on a computer, so PC had to come up with a new solution to scroll up/down, but they can still scroll. They just can't use the same code.
    Now... if you KNEW the guy, or worked with him, it would be hard to prove you didn't take his idea, but working independently.... they really do not have a claim... unless of course you name you clone Flapy Bird (note the 1 p), or Flappy Bird 2.
    Hope this helps.

  • jigglybeanjigglybean Posts: 1,584Member

    Some of you guys are missing the point, or have failed to read the actual story. A company - Ultimate Arcade, are trying to copyright the name 'flappy bird'. They haven't done so yet.

    In the mean time, they are just generating publicity by sending our cease orders to those developers using the name. Apple, as usual are being arseholes - Amazon are now asking developers to put a disclaimer in their description 'this game is not endorsed by flappy bird makers' where before, they asked to remove it!

    It's like when King tried to slap developers withe cease order for use of the word 'candy' - they essentially gave up because of all the bad PR and of course they cloned games themselves!

    If you have a flappy bird game, change the name if you wish, or ask Apple what they want. Either that, or just don't publish on itunes, because Apple just don't have a clue.

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  • JSprojectJSproject Posts: 730Member

    @Socks said:
    I've registered AlienDeathLesbians™, already spending the money.

    How could you, those pics of dead Alien lesbians was sent to you in confidence ;)

  • JSprojectJSproject Posts: 730Member

    @jigglybean said:

    It's like when King tried to slap developers withe cease order for use of the word 'candy' - they essentially gave up because of all the bad PR and of course they cloned games themselves!

    King gave up trademarking the word CANDY in the US but it's still in effect in Europe...sick :/

  • tenrdrmertenrdrmer Posts: 9,934Member, Sous Chef, Senior Sous-Chef

    Trademarks and copyrights are completly different. They can trademark the word flappy in the use if video games because it is not a common word used in these names otherwise and it clearly is associated with their game. It's easy to prove be cause there's hundreds more "flappy" games out there that are dead obvious clones of the game.

    It's not my fault I never learned to take responsibility for anything. ;)

  • ArmellineArmelline Posts: 4,785Member, PRO

    They will fail. But the bottom line is that small developers will lose a lot of money if they try to fight it. My first ever iPhone game, made about 6 years ago now, got bullied off the app store by a major board game maker. It used rebus puzzles, similar to those found in the Dingbats board game. The owners of Dingbats claimed to own that type of puzzle and threatened to sue if I didn't remove my game. I knew they couldn't own that type of puzzle. I knew that I would win any such lawsuit without question. But they knew that it would cost me way more to fight it than I could afford/it would be worth, and that their legal team could bankrupt me in the effort to argue.

    It's not about who's right. It's about who's got the deeper pockets.

  • tenrdrmertenrdrmer Posts: 9,934Member, Sous Chef, Senior Sous-Chef

    @Armelline said:

    It's not about who's right. It's about who's got the deeper pockets.

    Exactly

    It's not my fault I never learned to take responsibility for anything. ;)

  • Shadow_DevelopmentShadow_Development Rocklin, CA. United StatesPosts: 85Member
    edited March 2014

    Hmmm, I guess I shouldn't publish my "Flappy Pipe" game, however, it seems though as if you only mention them owning copyright for the word "flappy" and not the game idea. Let's face it, there was another game on the top of my tong made way before the flappy era existed. It was something that had "Chopper" or "Copter" in it. Anyways, just to be safe, I might leave my game in the Arcade...Otherwise I can just change "Flappy" to "Flying" etc. Let's just hope I can avoid such a situation...It's like trying to walk across a field full of copyright infringement mines.

  • SlickZeroSlickZero Houston, TexasPosts: 2,870Member, Sous Chef

    The answer is always money. The problem is always money. The solution is always money. If you ever wonder why a company does anything, the answer will always be money. Same thing with modern politics and religion.

    I highly doubt they are going to win, and they shouldn't. Although, part of me wishes they would, and all this Flappy crap would fly away.

    I have no friends. I'm a loser that makes video games all day. Will you be my friend?

  • Shadow_DevelopmentShadow_Development Rocklin, CA. United StatesPosts: 85Member

    @SlickZero said:
    The answer is always money. The problem is always money. The solution is always money. If you ever wonder why a company does anything, the answer will always be money. Same thing with modern politics and religion.

    I highly doubt they are going to win, and they shouldn't. Although, part of me wishes they would, and all this Flappy crap would fly away.

    I agree with you very much on this subject @SlickZero . I also think this whole Flappy thing is getting out of hand and needs to stop. I only vowed to make one flappy type game, and that would be it for me. I only wanted to see what making a game like that would be, but yes, once again you are correct with the whole business concept.

  • jigglybeanjigglybean Posts: 1,584Member

    I don't think it needs to stop. If people keep buying flappy games, its about supply and demand. Let's not forget just how small these windows of opportunity are until the next big thing arrives.

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  • Shadow_DevelopmentShadow_Development Rocklin, CA. United StatesPosts: 85Member

    Reasons why it should stop in my opinion:

    1: The multiple clones get annoying.
    2: The app store will be overrun with Flappy Bird related games if action is not taken.
    3: People are making money off the creator's idea.
    4: Many people will get copyright infringement notices. Resulting in major loss of money for people depending on what they did.

    I don't know, I just think the world would be better off with just 20-50 clones, but it appears there are thousands of them...Literally.

  • BBEnkBBEnk Posts: 1,764Member

    Apple just needs to create a new Category.

  • VGXVGX Posts: 796Member

    All this is just pure BS! No one ain't gonna do nothing, this is just to scare people off. Does anyone really think they can chase thousands of people who made the clones?
    There was a time no long ago when angry birds was being cloned and what happened? Nothing! Tiny wings, nothing! Candy crush, nothing! Cut the rope! nothing etc, etc.
    Apple don't care either, they making their 30% commission on these clones. There's more to life than complaining about ******* clones! We should sue everyone, shops, companies, music, films, books, list goes on!

  • TomCoffeeTomCoffee Posts: 175Member, PRO
    edited March 2014

    As someone who has been through this with other words, I can tell you that most of you are missing the larger point.

    These cease and desist notices have absolutely nothing to do with the GAME you made.

    It only has to do with the WORD you used in your game title.

    It is a trademark bullying technique which is strictly legal to the letter of the law, but not in the spirit of the law. In theory trademark is supposed to be used for unique or identifying words or phrases. In theory you are not allowed to trademark "common" words...

    The problem is this: US Trademark is broken and overwhelmed. You can trademark just about any common word you can think of and the trademark office will most likely let it go through. Don't believe me? Try this:

    1. Go to Trademarkia.com.
    2. Search for a common word. ANY common word. Book? Bird? There are probably hundreds of trademarks on that word. Some are logo specific, but many are not.
    3. Cry.

    Here's one: http://www.trademarkia.com/company-dapper-gentlemen-llc-3659891-page-1-2

    "Scanner"..."meter"... "securely"...all trademarked in the last few years. The trademark office lets common words like these get trademarked every day.

    There are lots and lots of people just like this.

    Their goal is usually not to get money out of you, it's just to get to change the name of your app so that when common words are searched for THEIR app gets higher in the rankings.

    It's all about words, nothing about games.

    I used a good lawyer to navigate me through my latest trademark maze, but I've also trademarked a word myself. A lawyer's a lot easier...

    This sort of bullying tactic is unfair and definitely breaks the spirit of trademark law. But Apple won't do anything about it because they have yet not been held responsible for their inaction when it comes to any other trademark or copyright violations in their store.

    Good luck... you're all going to need it.

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  • Thunder_ChildThunder_Child Posts: 2,343Member

    @Socks said:
    I've registered AlienDeathLesbians™, already spending the money.

    Dangit !

    Side note....I have downloaded 6 of 29 games in the past 15 minutes with the name Flappy

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