Big developer trying to squash small Indie Studio


#1

Now this little personal to me because these guys are my friends and I positively love their games beside the fact that a big Studio it’s trying to castrate their means to develop more and to make a living it fill me with a raging passion. So if you guys could spread it around I would appreciate that

Valve, 2K and Pre-Civilization (our games are unavailable in store)
NOVEMBER 19 - CLARUSVICTORIA
Dear players! The Valve has informed us, that they have received claims on behalf of 2K, Inc. that our games (Pre-Civilization Egypt, Pre-Civilization Marble Age) infringe 2K’s trademark for “Civilization.” And they have removed these games from the Steam store while this matter is under dispute.

We already contacted 2K representative regarding this mistake and we hope to resolve this issue soon. Why we think this is a mistake:
We can’t find the registered trademark “Pre-Civilization” in attached XLS documents with registered 2K trademarks.
In dictionaries and science literature it is an independent word meaning the time prior civilization (that exactly our games are about). http://www.yourdictionary.com/precivilization
And we pointed out that for example Galactic Civilizations series may have the same problems with in future in this case.


#2

This reminds me of the crap King tried to pull a few years back.


#3

I really liked their games what a pain in the ass.


#4

#5

I remember back in the day when some company trademarked the words “Tower Defense” even though it had been used by games previously. And they started enforcing their trademark against all these small indie games who couldn’t afford to hire lawyers. Including the people who first used Tower Defense as their game title. It sucked.

2K own the Civilization trademark. They have to defend it or else they risk losing it. And they’ve owned it for some time. The Civilization series itself is about 20 years old. Your friends have a game with Civilization in the title. Which is also in the same genre. I can see how it would confuse people.

They are not going to win this fight. It’d probably be easiest for your friends to go “oops my bad” and just change their game’s names.


#6

Valve disabled their games so they can even rename it. :confused: this is an infuriating situation these boys are passionate they make good games Egypt is a big step up for them. When the few games that rated learn something in a very long time and that fun. And they’re getting pissed on by a major developer because you’re using civilization and even there so many games that use civilization and its. Off of their game covers a very specific place and period of time. Where civilizations huge in span and scope and a ahistorical


#7

I’ve played their earlier games.

I’m not saying I’m not sympathetic. I can’t imagine how upsetting this is. And how much of an impact is has having their games, and revenue removed. And the issues and costs that will be associated with rebranding.

This is a fight they won’t win though. They could hire a lawyer, pour money into that, and they still won’t win. It’s going to consume their money, their time and energy. And they still won’t win. All that will happen is they won’t be able to sell their games anymore. They’ll get burned out by it all. I’d hate to see that happen. They made nice games.

I’d strongly suggest just telling your friends to think up an alternative name, and using that for Steam.


#8

Hell, these things are more a show of force then anything else. Still though, as FairyGodfeather said, you’re wasting your time. These Developers know the risk they took… And know it’s come back to haunt them.


#9

I hate to say it @Rogar but the Procrastinator Pigeon is probably right here, you can’t win them all, the real problem here seems to be that it is exactly the same genre and to top it off Civilization 6 has just been released, so now of all times the publisher’s lawyers are going to be extra anxious to protect that brand, because unlike standard copyrights brands and brand names can actually lapse from disuse and failing to adequately protect them.
The only way you have a shot is if the current nominal holder of the brand isn’t using it (and hasn’t for some time) and has nothing in the pipeline at the time your friends released their product on the market.

In fact odds are a decent lawyer who specializes in these matters will refuse to take their case and money outright, at least beyond the initial consult, in case that isn’t free.

Oh, and as always nothing in this post can be taken as actual legal advice, particularly not outside of the EU and I’m not responsible if someone does.


#10

Enough said? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: x20ch


#11

Honestly this is an example of on copywriting laws get retarded atrociously damaging.


#12

Just think slightly outside the box and spell it civilisation if they’ve trade marked it with a “z”, problem solved :slight_smile:

Seriously though, although I think it’s kind of insane you can trade mark individual words out of a dictionary it sounds like their competition has much deeper pockets than they do and can drag out legal proceedings until they win or it becomes unviable for them to continue to fight it. I agree with many above, best bet is probably to give in early and change the name. Otherwise get some very good legal advice before they get into anything further.


#13

I’m not trying to be a negative here but they do have the right to hold the title since they have the copyright. It is their exclusive legal right… that is if they really do have the copyright or they insist that they used the title first which gives them more ground…

Think about it this way then, for Choice of Games they have the right to have their games start with “choice of” they are not being unfair about its just is. Would that mean they’re squashing small Indie makers?

It’s all about who gets the right first… And if you do think about it, it’s not just because they want to squash indie makers like bugs, but they are also marketing their game. They want it to be known as what it is rather than having other games with the same tag name… and perhaps it’s all about the money…

Better just re-name since they’re likely the winners… I’d say ask for some legal advice if you really want to push it and be prepared to cough some caching caching…


#14

Copyright used to promote advancement and competition is great. The point that copyright is used to stifle competition and ensure stagnation is where it turns less benign and more sinister.

There is nothing “fair” about copyright - it is the granting of exclusive rights for better or worse (and sometimes both). The problems with copyright are compounded over time and over transference of ownership.

Copyright is supposed to be a tool used by the government to ensure society benefits from people’s efforts, not about ensuring profit or money making.

When a person or company owning a copyright exercises that right to the detriment of society, there is a problem with the way that copyright is used … Singing “Happy Birthday” should not be decided by who owns the copyright, even if the person who owns the copyright makes millions from it.

Modern copyright law is behind society as is most law; it needs to be updated for modern society.

This is the opinion of the person writing this and should not be blablabla <- legal stuff so @idonotlikeusernames feels at home :wink:


#15

Aren’t we speaking Trademarks here, not copyright? They’re different things enforced differently. Trademarks need to be defended.

And I don’t believe Choice of Games has a trademark on “Choice of”. But since they’re publishing their games they get to pick which ones they publish as Choice of.


#16

This is actually a myth. You’d only lose your trademark in the most extreme of cases, for example if you’ve completely neglected using it for years, or it’s become so common it’s considered a generic brand. It’s pretty ridiculous to suggest that a company has to ruthlessly hunt down every possible infringer across the internet.


#17

Trademarks are different but related to copyrights. In the States you even have regional “trademarks” and state-level marks you have to navigate through.

Copyright is text - books and games are considered text, including titles and electronic publications.

Trademarks are “marks” used in trade or business and usually are trade-names.

Again, this is different from jurisdiction to jurisdiction but it isn’t as extreme as you might think - xerox is an example often cited… but there are a lot of marks that passed into common usage.


#18

Sure, but this is only the case for trademarks that are in danger of becoming generic terms. Otherwise, as long as the trademark is in active use, it’s very hard to lose it just from straight up lack of enforcement. 2K have no obligation whatsoever to remove this guy’s game to “protect” their trademark.


#19

This kinda sounds like the kinda thing Jim Sterling might like talking about. https://twitter.com/JimSterling


#20

Intel will jump on anyone with “intel” in their product name.

Similarly I’m not surprised 2K jumped on “Pre-Civilisation”. These indie guys will be changing their product names quickly if they don’t want to burn cash on lawyers who are never going to change the mind of 2K Games.

Heck Microsoft renamed “SkyDrive” to “OneDrive” because the UK satelltite TV provider Sky thought it’d confused people over who made the product. Its not always the little guy that runs in to problems.