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Need Proof That Trademark Laws Are Stupid? Apple Demands Game Sellers Remove ‘Memory’ From Titles

Memory Games Pulled from iOS Store Over Trademark for word Memory

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?

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2 Responses to “Need Proof That Trademark Laws Are Stupid? Apple Demands Game Sellers Remove ‘Memory’ From Titles”

  1. Salomé Hanli Le Roux

    I'm surprised that the word "antiquated" falls in the author's vocabulary while he/she struggled with the difference between "world" and "word" and "simple" and "simply"… Nevertheless, the author's biggest struggle is definitely jumping to senseless conclusions and ignorance. If these claims (confirmed by a mere 2 app developers) are true, it may show that Apple is a little crazy, but it in no way shows that Trademark laws are abusable or ludicrous. Most Trademark laws, including US laws, would NOT allow one person to stop others from using a word that they reasonably need to describe their goods/service. Also, if these app developers have been using the titles long before this trademark was registered, this trademark owner will not be able to "force" them to suddenly stop using the name. There's much more to trademark law than what the author portrays in this article and hundreds of ignorant authors use for sensation and to attack Apple. It actually takes the reality of life and trade in consideration. By the way, Apple is not a "court" and this silly little matter has defnitely not been decided by any court quite yet. And yes, I AM a trademark lawyer.