Tower Defense Trademark

Today I got a letter from com2us (they registered the phrase “Tower Defense” as a trademark) to inform me, that I am infringing their trademark with my game “Tablet Tower Defense”.

Because that is such stupid, I started to publish their letter and my opinions. There will be more publishings about that topic over the year, to give them a virtual slap in the face for being ridicolous.

Read more about it:

Tablet Tower Defense - com2us informs me about copyright infringement - Developer Blog

Personal Blog - letter from com2us (Tower Defense) - Developer Blog

Personal Blog - Copyright Infringement of “Tablet Tower Defense” - Developer Blog

Would be very glad if you share this links and also share your opinion about such stupid things. It should just not be possible to trademark descriptive phrases. For me I already wanted to rename my game Tablet Tower Defense, so for me it’s not that bad, but the general idea is stupid :slight_smile:

I’ve put your link wherever I could, hope that helps spread the word. Ridiculous.

Just a thought: I installed their Tower Defense and gave them 1 star review. Maybe we could make more people do that? Reddit or sth similar could be helpful, maybe someone knows how to get attention there.

Simplest would be just rename your Google Developer Console description and title - and add in text:

Changed title of app to avoid copyright.

This will impact search - as it seems the title is important. However you could compensate for it by mentioning Tower Defence EXTENSIVELY in your description (i.e. 2 or 3 times) - that is if you REALLY care about the Tower Defence name.

However probably you want to avoid threatening Tower Defence in your description (or take some of the language here to there) - since it seems Google doesn’t want that type of language (from what I understood by some thread here).

This MAY ensure that your game remains AS findable as before.

On a positive note you could consider modifying the title (in the Google Description) - to leverage some of other term that is perhaps better.

Tablet Tower Defence

Tablet Defence
Tablet Defender
Tower Defender
Defender Tower for Tablets

or some such thing.

Or you could name it:
NOT Tower Defence for Tablets

That will be AS searchable as before - and be clear that it is NOT Tower Defence (!).

From their letter on:
Personal Blog - letter from com2us (Tower Defense) - Developer Blog

If your company has any alternative to avoid trademark infringement except for the change of the Game title, please feel free to suggest it. We will use best efforts to reach a reasonable compromise.

You COULD offer them that you will put a link up to their game or something. That could be nothing but good for them.

You could put it in the Menu or someplace that doesn’t hinder your ad stream.

The suggestion in your post:
Personal Blog - Copyright Infringement of “Tablet Tower Defense” - Developer Blog

I just googled around and found out, that the well known game “Desktop Tower Defense” was released in 2007 (com2us registred their trademark in 2008).
The author of Desktop Tower Defense (see wikipedia) Paul Preece says, that Desktop Tower Defense is generating a yearly turnover with six numbers.
I will contact him, maybe he will slap com2us in their face for being ridicolous.

Maybe you should can offer Paul Preece that you are willing to make the game for him - or sell your game to him (assuming you are not making much from it).

I searched the market and it seems that they are succesful - theirs is the only top game with “tower defense” in the name. But others have tower defense in description.

What if you made your app a parody of the Tower Defence game ? (if that is possible).

That is just ridiculous.
I could understand if they’d trademarked “Tower Defense” if they were the ones who created it.
Ever since “Flash Element TD” and “Desktop Tower Defense” the term Tower Defense has become a
genre (or subgenre)/category for a specific type of games. Can you really trademark a whole genre? :\

I think I even remember App Store (for iOS) having a list for some time called “Top Tower Defense games” or something like that.
Many websites for games also has their own category dedicated to the Tower Defense games.

They are clearly NOT the inventors of the Tower Defense Genre (they trademarked it in 2008). Ther phrase actually goes back to Command & Conquer times and the well known “Art of Defense” Style Maps. So there is no true inventor of that phrase.

Also, it is a descriptive phrase. It is also mentioned in wikipedia and what they do try now is to get a legal foot to eliminate every other tower defense game in the market by just registering it as a trademark. In europe that is clearly a “unethical competition” by law, but I just have no interest in sueing com2us for being stupid. Mainly I would blame the trademark offices in the first place, because THEY should avoid such stupid trademarking in the first place.

I think even google play has a category named Tower Defense … ? Every review website has such a category. com2us has registered “Tower Defense” for use with “Game Software and relevant goods” so that will count for EVERY game software, not only mobile devices. So they now have access to sue half the world. Personally I hope, they sue the wrong guy and get a hammer on their head, wiping them away from the market. Such politics are unacceptable. Give them what they deserve.

For me, they sent me Screenshots of my Teaser graphics and complained about the game tile, the usage of the words “tower defense” (which is also part of my graphics).

To not give them any chance to sue me, I’ve already changed game title, game graphics and updated on google play and will do so for other markets as well. So they do not have any single chance to sue me. I have just no interest in playing within such a fools game.

The game now is titled “HexDef One” with a long subtitle, which is very generic, maybe some people will be bad with me, but really I don’t care. I have neither the time not the resources to join childish plays with people on the trademark-playground.

So, if com2us will be wiped away, I will laugh at them because they deserve it.
@Solirify: No, actually you CANT trademark a genre. But at the trademark office, they do not care, because they do not know or investigate if it is a genre. They just don’t know. So people can happily register everything until the point they get sued by anyone. So I hope someone will sue them.

Can I sue someone just for beinging an idiot? (general question g)

by the way, before I forget:

If you got such troubles with trademark, take action immediatly, no matter if it is ridicolous or not. BECAUSE: google play policy tells you to not infringe others intellectual property and google just doesn’t care, if it is ridicolous or not, it is patented ad that’s the end of it - otherwise, they could terminate your account. Nobody wants that.

So take action first and THEN you can argue on different levels with the patent holder. I already have some pretty nasty ideas how to make payback to com2us - legally and without costs :slight_smile:

I wonder if the reason they contacted you first was because their strategy did not work with Google (?) - since Google is known for knee jerk removing apps from the market - that is something these folks could have also done.

So is it possible they tried and got rebuffed by Google and so went directly to the developer ?

I have to admit, that their mail was friendly formulated. Google cannot work against the law, and if someone comes with a trademark issue, they have to react and cannot judge about the trademark.

I would not bet, that com2us would REALLY sue someone… What should they do in my case, I am in europe and they have no trademark here. The could only report me to google and google could kick me out of the us market without any big effort. Sueing me (here in europe out of asia) could be very expensive for them. And to be honest in front of a court, com2us would have no chance to hold a trademark for “Tower Defense” … no chance, so they may not risk it anyway.

The need to rename my app is not the point, I wanted to rename it anyway … What really drives me angry is, that patent offices don’t care about “well known” phrases, they do not investigate etc … so that system is doomed to fail in the end … wait for the collapse :slight_smile:

Letter 2 arrived: Personal Blog - Letter 2 from com2us (Tower Defense) - Developer Blog

There they state, that Apple Store does pre-axamin submittions on trademark infringement, while google does not. With google they inform the devs first before they interact with google (google would take your game down)

They also say, that it would need a huge amount of evidence to proof, that “Tower Defense” is a descriptive phrase. Hm … even wikipedia states it descriptive … and all over the world “Tower Defense” is well known as a Game Genre

Tower defense - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

So hopefully they go to hell :slight_smile:

Ok, so they have gone and managed to get a trademark on something generic. Well done for them and boo! to idiot trademark office.

Your way out of this is:
0) I am not a lawyer… don’t assume what I am telling you has any basis in reality.

  1. You can prove that you were using the term in business BEFORE them… even then you are probably only limited to using it in those markets, not in new ones. You will probably still need to go to court to enable your rights. Since com2us is a huge app developer, google will probably pull your apps in the mean time. Sucks, but that’s life in corporate america. Blame the lawyers.
  2. Creative marketing (“so good, we got sued to change the name” / etc)
  3. Find out which countries they have trademarked the name in and only change the app in those countries.
  4. Do your research BEFORE you release an app (this can be stupid expensive and will probably miss weird things anyway).

yeah, you have no recourse with these guys, you did the right thing by changing the name but companies get rich by suing trademark violators. I got an infringement letter on an unrelated application then after quickly removing the app received a request for an income report. Luckily, I never monetized the app in any way but that didn’t stop them from sending me a settlement letter for thousands, lol. lesson is… if you have something to lose, don’t risk… nothing to lose… roll with it, but those with the resources always win

They just closed my file regarding infringement after changing app title. For me it’s not critical, my game had a generic name before and was not marketed etc.
to 1) they registered the name in 2008. No proving does help you because it does not matter who USED the name, but who registered the name first.
to 2) that’s what I do :slight_smile:
to 3) they tell you where they they have registered. they registered in US (2008), South Korea, China and Japan (2011)
to 4) Their game wasn’t released … and to be honest, I have no interest into researching generic terms about being trademarked before. It’s just stupid.

BUT … even when I consider com2us to be evil there is a point. What if com2us did NOT register it and someone ELSE does register it later on? So they would be fck’d … that’s a reason why nowadays you need to register every junk. That should be prohibited in the first place, so noone should be allowed to register phrases or even generic words or descriptive words. In reality that’s already the case, but noone cares in registration office and there is the problem.

To maintain your right YOU have first sue them while normally it would be the responsibility of the registration office to do their work proper. A small lookup in wikipedia for example is normally sufficient to know if a phrase is a well known descriptive word or not. A simple google search of the phrase would be sufficient.

So what shall we do? See it like that: I renamed my Game now to “HEXDef ONE”. What if some idiot decides to register that name in US? I cannot afford a worldwide registration and would end up renaming my game over and over? How fair is that?

Look, how is a normal developer doing title research: Looking up the desired game in google. If there are no results it is most likely, that noone had this title used before. Why is it so hard for a registration office to do the same BEFORE they give out a trademark? … unfair world