UPDATE: Apple clamps down on 'Memory' games in trademark tussle
FURTHER UPDATE: Ravensburger has contacted us to say it will now be commenting on the issue.
Apple is reportedly emailing iOS developers behind apps with the term 'Memory' in their title to instruct them either to change their game's name, or pull it from sale.
Based on an email from Apple forwarded to us by a developer, a German board games specialist has trademarked the term in a number of territories, and is now looking to press home its rights across more than 40 countries.
Regions wrapped up the case include major European territories such as Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Russia.
Developers are being instructed to remove the word 'Memory' both from the app's title and search keywords.
Those that refuse can either challenge the claim by contacting the board games developer directly, or pull their app from sale in the regions where the trademark is in force.
The developer that alerted us who wishes to remain anonymous questioned the legitimacy of a company trademarking such a commonplace term, though it isn't without precedent in the mobile field.
Back at the start of 2011, Doodle Jump developer Lima Sky was pulled into a similar debate when developers claimed the studio had sent out letters through Apple asking firms behind 'Doodle' apps to change their name an account co-founder Igor Pusenjak later contested.
A matter of memory
"If the name of your game is so close to Doodle Jump that people think Lima Sky created it, we are asking you to change that," said Pusenjak at the time.
"There was absolutely no rush to call a game 'Doodle Something' until Doodle Jump became famous. Then many developers began jumping on the bandwagon whether their game had any doodled elements in it or not.
"They were simply trading on the fame of Doodle Jump, for which Lima Sky has a trademark."
A matter of weeks later, developer Stick Sports also took action against other apps with the word 'Stick' in their names, with Apple requesting developers prove that their titles did not "infringe Stick Sports Limited's rights".
"The 'Stick' mark has been registered for many years and has significant reputation in its marketplace," said Stick Sports' solicitors Sheridans in a statement at the time.
"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."
The company behind this latest trademark tussle has not yet gone public, though we have contacted them for clarification.