In response to Stick Sports' claims that rival studios are infringing on its trademark, Alex Chapman, from the firm's lawyers Sheridans has issued a statement clarifying its position.
Most interesting is the distinction offered between other recent IP infringement claims and the Stick Sports case. In particular, Sheridans previously represented Mobigame in its battle against Edge Games over the game title Edge.
The full statement is below.
"As you may be aware Stick Sports has taken steps to protect its rights in its "Stick" brand. Those steps include notifying Apple and a number of developers that their publication of games using the "stick" mark in connection with certain games infringes the UK registered trade mark of Stick Sports and, globally, amounts to passing off and unfair competition.
"We are aware that this has attracted some criticism and this email is therefore a response to that.
"Sheridans Solicitors have been engaged to advise and assist in this matter. As you may be aware Sheridans assisted Mobigame in connection with its defence of claims made by Tim Langdell in respect of the use of the name Edge and assisted a number of developers in connection with Lima Sky"s claims concerning "Doodle Jump".
"We are experts in this area and are actively involved in the the indie games scene generally.
"We have advised Stick Sports that its case is very different to those that have received public criticism before and it is therefore disappointing that the initial reaction of many has been to jump to same conclusion as was reached in respect of those other claims.
"For example, when Lima Sky tried to enforce its "Doodle Jump" mark in respect of games using the word "Doodle" its trade mark was for "Doodle Jump", not "Doodle". Therefore because its games and other games using the word "Doodle" are based on or characterised by their doodle graphics there was no likelihood of consumers being confused into believing that the games originated from Lima Sky. Indeed Lima Sky was not even the first company to use "Doodle" in the title.
"When Tim Langdell tried to enforce its rights in the name "Edge", its trade marks were invalid through non-use. A position we publicly advanced and one that the US Court ultimately upheld in the case involving EA.
"The position of Stick Sports is very different and the fact that certain companies have sought to assert rights they do not have should not prevent Stick Sports and others like it from asserting rights that it does have.
"Chief among these is the fact that Stick Sports owns a registered trade mark for "Stick" and has established substantial goodwill and reputation in that name, particularly when used in combination with sports games. It has worked hard and spent many years, since 2004, building its unique brand and developing games around it. Its games have had over 1 billion plays and well over 50 million unique users and as a result its "Stick" brand has become widely recognised in the field of sports based games.
"The "Stick" mark has been registered for many years and has significant reputation in its marketplace. It is not descriptive or devoid of distinctive character and those games that are not authorised to use the "Stick" brand cannot justify that use on the basis of the content of their games either. Put simply those games are characterised by their use of a "stickman" and the reference to "Stick" in the name does not denote a characteristic of the game.
"As a result those developers that have used the name "Stick" are therefore benefiting from the goodwill Stick Sports has in its brand and Stick Sports is right to request that they stop. Stick Sports has no objection to developers renaming their titles to include the name "Stickman" instead of "Stick" however.
"This is an industry that respects intellectual property rights and indeed depends on them to succeed. It must also respect those rights if it is to succeed and by and large it does."
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