Tag Archives: trademark

Sugary Smash Chronicle: Thoughts on King.com’s trademark brouhaha

The recent approval by the EU of King.com’s trademark on the words of their own title “Candy Crush Saga” for use in game and app titles, and the resulting flurry of infringement allegations, is of particular interest to me. Not as a CCSaga player, although I am one. (Level 491, used to comment on my levelup posts with helpful advice for other players, have accidentally spent real money but never won a level by using purchased powerups.) Not because I think it’s ridiculous, although I do. Not because I’m outraged about one more case of the big guy going after the little guy (“All Candy Casino Slots – Jewels Craze Connect: Big Blast Mania Land” excepted and notwithstanding), although I am. Not because I think CCSaga has used underhanded tricks to winkle money out of its players, or because I dislike the deliberate manipulation of addiction mechanisms by game developers, or because I resent the social gaming model for making participation as much a responsibility to your friends as a pastime for yourself. All relevant and true, but the real reason I’m following this story is that I’ve been involved with King.com since before CCSaga existed. I know where it came from, I’ve been watching its evolution, and I’m interested to see what this episode does for (or to) the company as a whole. Continue reading

Apple opens dictionary, abandons lawsuit over “App store”

Apple and Amazon have settled their two-year legal dispute over the term “app store.”

It’s about time common sense prevailed. Even though Apple had the gall to deny it, “app store” is as obviously descriptive of a store selling apps as “book store” is of a store selling books, or “grocery store” of a store selling groceries. Insisting on trademark protection was ridiculous.

Actually, that reminds me of the time way back when that Barnes & Noble (I think it was B&N, anyway) tried to bring a false advertising claim against Amazon for saying that they were the world’s largest book store. The idea was that since Amazon didn’t have a physical storefront, they weren’t a book store, but a book seller. I seem to recall that didn’t stick either, but took a similarly ridiculous time to settle out.

App Store: Apple vs. the English Language

A few months ago, Amazon opened a section of their online store where they sell apps for Android devices. Following the same boring-but-descriptive naming scheme that Microsoft pioneered with such products as a word processor called Microsoft Word, a flight simulator called Microsoft Flight Simulator, and so forth, they call it the Amazon Appstore.

Apple, of course, is suing them for trademark infringement. Amazon’s stance: “App store” is a generic, descriptive term for a store that sells apps. Apple counters: “Is not!”

It’s a bit more eloquent than that, but look at this:

“Apple admits that the current edition of the Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘app’ as, in part, ‘[a]n application, esp. an application program,” Apple said in the court filing. “Apple further admits that the current edition of the New Oxford American Dictionary defines ‘store’ as, in part, ‘a retail establishment selling items to the public: a health-food store.'”

And the best part:

“Apple denies that, based on their common meaning, the words ‘app store’ together denote a store for apps,” the document said. [emphasis added]

Really? Funny, I thought that was how the English language worked.

(In the interest of full disclosure: I own an Apple laptop, and Android phone, and use Amazon’s affiliate program…but not their app store.)

Legality Links

Organization for Transformative Works – dedicated to protecting the expression of fan fiction, fan art, etc. (via Naomi Novik)

Open Standards, One Web, and Opera – Just why are standards important, anyway? (via Opera Watch)

Speaking of Opera, their EU antitrust complaint against Microsoft has been making waves. Responses at CSS3.info, Web Standards Project, Slashdot (edit: more Slashdot), Asa Dotzler, Opera Watch, plus a Q&A w/ Haarvard. My take: Good luck on unbundling, but if they can force Microsoft to catch up with the rest of the market in terms of standards support, I’m all for it.

Nissan vs. Nissan. On my way to work I saw a bumper sticker on an XTerra that said “In support of our freedom, it’s my last Nissan.” Huh? There was clearly a web address below it, but it was too small to read at that distance. So I looked up the phrase, and apparently there’s been a long-running dispute over the domain name nissan.com, between a small computer business named after its founder, Uzi Nissan, and the Nissan car company. The dispute was eventually resolved (correctly, IMO, since he has a legit reason to use the name) in favor of the little guy. On the other hand, I don’t see why the site makes such a big deal about Nissan’s “French Connection” to Renault.