Trademark laws around the world are antiquated, highly abused, and ludicrous, a lesson that iOS game developers learned on Wednesday when Apple demanded that the world “memory” be removed from all game titles sold through the Apple app store.
According to gaming site Gamasutra, the German game maker Ravensburger owns the trademark to the word “memory” as it pertains to game titles. The trademark is held in 42 countries including Armenia, Austria, Bosnia Herzegovina, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Equador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, and Venezuela.
While the United States is not included in that list, Apple believes the trademark for Ravensburger will be allowed in the United States before the end of 2012.
Some developers wouldn’t be bothered with the change and simple pulled their apps. One of those developers was Darren Murtha who pulled Preschool Memory Match. Murtha said he will fix the title and upload it sometime in early 2013.
While trademarking a made up name such as Coca Cola makes sense from a marketing and brand standpoint, the fact that courts will allow a common everyday word to be taken over for all uses is both silly and absurd.
Do you think a single company should be able to “own” the trademarks on common words that are used everyday for reasons outside of their own products?