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 Doodle Jump  Developer Seeking Name Change For Other 'Doodle' Games
Doodle Jump Developer Seeking Name Change For Other 'Doodle' Games
January 12, 2011 | By Kyle Orland

January 12, 2011 | By Kyle Orland
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    28 comments
More: Console/PC



The makers of iPhone hit Doodle Jump, Lima Sky, have been using their trademark on the title to try to force name changes on other App Store games containing the term "Doodle."

Word of the move first broke when developer Robots vs Wizards posted on the Touch Arcade forums that it was changing the name of its Doodle Monster app after being contacted by a representative from Lima Sky.

But the developer changed its stance after reading an account from Doodle Hockey developer Brian Duke, who detailed a reportedly months-long legal battle with Lima Sky over the title.

"It's my impression that [Lima sky's] Igor [Pusenjak] is starting to chase out the 'small guys' first," Duke wrote. "The big houses aren't afraid of him. ... It's my guess that Lima Sky's intent here is to get as much momentum as they can with hopes of kicking all of the doodle-named apps out of the App Store."

Pusenjak confirmed to Pocket Gamer that the company claims the trademark to Doodle Jump, which was granted in November, and is seeking legal options to protect it.

"We are required by [the US Patent and Trademark Office] to monitor and police our trademarks," he said. "If we don't, we lose them."

There are currently over 700 titles containing the word "Doodle" on the App Store, including hundreds of games. Doodle Jump was not the first such title, but is likely the most well known, as one of 2010's top-grossing iPhone game apps. The term has been used in online games dating back to the late '90s.

Apple does remove titles from the iOS App Store in cases of trademark conflicts and other content disputes, but it's unclear whether the company has been consulted or where they would stand on Lima Sky's complaint.

After a drawn-out legal battle over a somewhat similar claim to the term "Edge" in the video game realm, controversial developer Tim Langdell was forced to relinquish his control of the trademark last October.

Hemisphere Games recently warned developers of a potential outbreak of app name squatting on some potentially popular title names.


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Comments


Tim Carter
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Well, Trademark is IP.



I suppose other developers wouldn't want other forms of IP ripped off. Say, their code or art plagiarized without their consent. Same thing. IP is IP.

Ryan Duffin
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Not a very good comparison, Tim. Code, art and IP are assets that are created, that did not exist before.



Unless Lima Sky invented the word "doodle" (they didn't) then they don't and should not have any rights over the word in it's singular form, no more then Activision can try to claim domain over "Call of the Wild" or "Call of Cthulu."

Tim Carter
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Trademark is an IP.



If you Trademark "Something X" as the Mark of your asteroid mining company, and nobody else had ever called their asteroid mining business "Something X" before you, it's the legitimate and lawful Trademark (or shingle) of your business. Nobody had done it before you, so it's your IP. From now on, no-one has the right to call their asteroid mining business "Something X", because you thought of that name first as an asteroid mining company name. And if someone then does try to use "Something X" as their 'roid miner co name, then they failed to do their research.



If you registered a Mark before someone else used the same Mark in the same business, you have a legitimate issue.



In the case of Trademark, it's not about "inventing a word" - it's about using a word as a "Mark" for a certain kind of business in a certain area.



IBM didn't invent the words "International", "Business" or "Machines", but they have legitimately registered the Trademark for "International Business Machines" for use in the computer business.



This is IP law 101.

Ka Wang Wu
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Does that let them threaten people who make say... International Business Modules? They also happen to be in the computer business.

Mark Venturelli
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Like you said, the guy legitimately registered the Trademark for "Doodle Jump". That can't stop me from making "Doodle Fuck".



Nor, like Ryan said, could Activision sue someone that makes a shooter called "Call of Something" or "Something of Duty".



The law is meant to protect him from someone using "Doodle Jump", not "Doodle", which is a common word. Or "Jump". Or "Edge".



"This is IP law 101". -_-

Tim Carter
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Well I don't know.



The owner of Doodle might feel that the guy who made Doodle Jump might be trying to piggy-back his hard work, and that the audience might confuse the two products.



So I think he could possibly have a legitimate concern. And we need to take said concerns seriously.

Mark Venturelli
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Let me rephrase this to you:



THERE IS NO OWNER OF "DOODLE".



And his "legitimate concern" is against over 700 titles, some of which were there before his own game was.

Tom Baird
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And that's well and good if they were trying to block other games called 'Doodle Jump'. I take issue with the fact that they are attempting to block the use of a common word contained within their trademark.



Twisting your example a little bit, it'd be like Something X attempting to block all other mining companies from using the word Something. It makes a lot of sense that they can't be called Something X, but saying they can't use the word Something sounds unreasonable to me. Especially if Something were replaced with a mining related descriptor (Doodle is used in many names to assist in describing the art style).



I'm not sure if you know about the whole Edge fiasco with Tim Langdell, but I feel that Doddle is within the same common use realm as the word edge.

John Mawhorter
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While it's obvious that some developers saw the success of Doodle Jump and decided to make a game called "Doodle X", that still isn't grounds for a lawsuit as far as I can tell. The practice is lame, but the bottom-feeding developers that scrape the remains of the app store for little nuggets of cash are not anything anyone can get rid of.

Tim Carter
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You might feel differently if you put thousands of hours of work into a game called "Bozo Battles", and then it becomes a hit, but someone else makes a cheap knockoff game called "Bozo Wars", exploiting your hard-earned success.

Scott Hansen
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But, if I made a more polished version of the already existing 'Bozo Wars', and was dumb enough to call it "Bozo Battles', then I shouldn't have a leg to stand on in trying to get 'Bozo Wars' to rename their app...

Ian Uniacke
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Tim, it's just business. Do you think Coca Cola has a cry when JC Cola brings out a "clone". Sorry to say, but gaming wanted to be mass market and now it is, along with everything that goes along with that. If your game (not your game personally) can't stand on it's own legs against competition than that's just bad luck.



Add to that, in this case it's pretty clear that it's not a "maxsplosion" style ripoff.

Michael Lubker
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Edge much?

Mark Venturelli
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You beat me to it. It's the exact same argument that Mr. Carter is trying to make up there.

Tim Carter
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It's not MY argument.



It's Trademark. It's law



If you are in the game industry, and you're against IP ownership, what are you doing? It's like a guy who wants to get into the real estate business but feels that real estate can't be owned. IP is your stock-in-trade in the game biz.



Now this said, sometimes Trademark gets abused. But taking a position of raw ignorance is a little indefensible.

Mark Venturelli
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Like the Edge case is law? Like this Doodle case is law? The Edge guy got crushed in court, and I bet this Doodle thing will also go nowhere.



And where the HELL did you read that anyone on this discussion is "against IP ownership"? You are really a hard person to try and have a discussion with, frequently taking a position of raw dumb (very indefensible).

Jamie Mann
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To be fair, the Edge case was different: Tim did actually own the "Edge" trademark but lost because a) he couldn't prove that he was actively using the trademark for anything other than suing people and b) he allegedly doctored evidence to prove the strength of the trademark.



(something to ponder: EA now owns the Edge trademark. Be interesting to see if they try to sue anyone in the future...)



Lima Sky is actively using their trademark, but as far as I can see, this *doesn't* give them the right to sue people for using the individual words which make up that trademark. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a hard set of "trademark protection" rules: instead, trademark/copyright disputes seem to be settled on a per-case basis, mostly based on the perceived popularity of the IP in question. As such, it's possible for bigger companies to win against smaller companies, for the simple reason that the smaller companies don't have the financial resources to defend themselves.

Jamie Mann
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I'll fully agree that controlling your IP is key to profitability in the games industry, but this sort of "trademark" defence sets a very, very bad precedent.



This is similar to the Edge case, where Tim Langdell tried to sue several companies, including Namco, Sony and EA.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edge_Games



Fortunately, sanity prevailed there, but EA has deep legal pockets: how many small developers would have the resources to battle this sort of trolling?



Also, as Mark noted above, Lima Sky owns the trademark "Doodle Jump". They don't own a trademark called "Doodle", nor do they have a trademark called "Jump". They therefore shouldn't be trying to sue people for using "Doodle" - though funnily enough, they don't seem to be trying to go for people using the word "Jump"...



All told, my personal take on this is that Lima Sky is attempting to abuse their trademark. It's easy to feel a bit of sympathy for a small company (even one which has sold millions of games), but take a step back and look at the general case. If individual words (i.e. not names) can be trademarked, then every company in the world would scramble to get their own unique list, which would in turn block everyone else from using those words.



How would you feel if Nintendo tried to restrict use of the word "Super", or Sega blocked all games which use the word "Sonic"?



Finally, it's worth nothing that the infamously ligatious movie industry has the same problem with clashing movie titles/stories - apart from anything else, there's over a century of prior IP.



However, they *haven't* tried to change the law (titles can't be copyrighted) and unless there appears to be significant evidence of plagarism, they generally ignore the conflicts:

http://www.lawlawlandblog.com/2010/11/reuse_and_confuse_the_recyc
lin.html



And even then, to achieve a trademark, they generally have to either produce a series (e.g. Scream) *or* they have to prove that the public overwhelmingly identifies their IP as being associated with the given title. (e.g. everyone thinks of robots when you mention The Terminator; but film titles such as Dark Skies are more ambiguous).



(Similarly, the Tetris company owns the Tetris trademark and goes after anyone who uses the word "tetris" to describe their game - however, they don't go after people who make a game which uses Tetris-like principles).

Mark Venturelli
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Thanks for the excellent write-up. Way better than Mr. "Law-101" over there.

kP09 HI19
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Lame, we should boycott Doodle Jump, do bad reviews about it and bad scores in forums, comments, blogs, and so on, about all other games from Doodle Jump developer, we have to fight this pratice.

Tim Carter
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You want to fight Trademark?



What next? Are you going to fight Copyright? And then Patent?



And when you've ripped these edifices down, what will you then sell? IP will no longer be protectable. You won't be able to own your own work.

Mark Venturelli
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Are you going to fight logic and good sense?



What next? I just concluded (because of reasons) that now you are fighting babies!



How can you be against babies? You monster!



What next? Are you going to be against chocolate?

kP09 HI19
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@Tim Carter



One thing is the "Doodle Jump" trademark. It's ok claim the ownership of the "Doodle Jump" trademark, another thing is the claim to be the owner of the "Doodle" word, and sue all developers that wants to use the word in the title of the game, this is the lamiest thing we can expect from a developer, and as members of the game development eco system we need to troll this kind of developer, because trademark trolls are the worst kind of developers.



"Doodle Monster" and "Doodle Hockey" isn't equals "Doodle Jump". If it is ok the developers think they can troll others developers this way I think we has the right to troll them and we need to use this right, we can write bad reviews on youtube, forums, blogs, also we can suggest other games every Doodle Jump topic, video and good review ( PapiJump, Abduction! ). Hurting this kind of developer in the pocket as hard as we can is the best response for this behavior.



I suggest all the owners of games with "Doodle" in the title starting doing this, let's rock this lamer! It's the good sense law. They act with the "law" excuse, and we use the "good sense" excuse, deal made.

sean lindskog
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I eat chocolate babies.

Andy Roberts
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Seems like a great way to have all similar-sounding apps pulled from the App Store. IMO, this is a lame tactic: Star Wars and Star Trek happily co-exist, after all.

Mark Venturelli
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If you don't think that it is acceptable that Star Trek sues Star Wars for making a sci-fi work with the word "Star", than Tim Carter will say you hate justice!

Sherman Luong
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I had my experience registering for Trademark. Lots of going back and forth to make sure I described my font, color and use of the mark.



Just FYI you are not registering the word. You are registering everything involve with the name Doodle Jump meaning the font, the color and the word itself. You are in-fact registering the complete Mark and not just the word.



The Trademark laws is to prevent another person creating the same logo feel and name associated with the Brand.



If someone else creates a complete different logo and uses the word Doodle that does not fall into Trademark issue. You might have a better case on Copyright if the game is completely similar and the brand is the similar.



But the fact is nothing is new here, you can protect your brand but you cannot prevent others from doing something that similar, unless there is undeniably technology involve that no one else has, then you run into Patent lawsuits. IE if Kelloggs makes cereal they cannot prevent other companies from making Cereals.



This is the drawback of using Generic names. I made a Robin Hood game, knowing that every other person has the same right to make a Robin Hood Game.



All Trademark prevent is someone else using your Mark on their products.

Matthew Franklin
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So what happens when prior users of "Doodle" in app names sue Lima Sky for infringement?


none
 
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