Wizards Derail Kaiju Combat Kickstarter Over IP Issues

Wizards Derail Kaiju Combat Kickstarter Over IP Issues

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Wizards of the Coast wants to keep its Kaijudo trademark clear of all impediment.

If you're fond of giant monsters rampaging through cities - and really, who isn't - you may have picked up on Kaiju Combat, a cheerful Tokyo stomp of a game that has you send forth your monster to battle. It was enjoying a respectable Kickstarter until recently, when Wizards of the Coast stepped in to crush it under the weight of an intellectual property dispute. Lawyers acting on behalf of Wizards claimed that Kaiju Combat was a little too close to its Kaijudo, a CCG that Wizards may, some day, turn into a video game.

Wizards first approached Simon Strange, owner of Sunstone Games and the originator of Kaiju Combat, back in 2012. At the time, Strange took the view that Kaiju was an ordinary word, used in context, and Kaijudo couldn't be extended to the word Kaiju. He said as much, and Wizards didn't respond. Strange went about his business, only to have his Kickstarter derailed at the eleventh hour by this dispute.

"I initially interpreted the [first] message as a lawyer being thorough and covering their client's trademark," Strange told Games Politics. "Obnoxious, but not something I needed to get upset about or talk about in public." Then things got messy, and Strange was forced to make the issue public. He still doesn't think that Wizards actually cares very much about Kaiju Combat, and sees this more as legal hairsplitting cooked up by lawyers, who feel they need to rattle sabres or lose any chance of defending Wizards' trademark in the future.

Strange knows he can't justify spending development money on fighting a trademark claim. "But at the same time it would really make me sad if we're forced to change our name just because we can't afford to defend ourselves," he says. "I'm still hopeful that it won't come to that."

Source: Games Politics

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Oh for god's sake, IP law needs to die. "Kaiju" is a generic term for Japanese monster movies. It has absolutely nothing to do with Wizard's trademark on "Kaijudo," which isn't even the name of the game -- that would be "Duel Masters." Kaijudo is the name they used in the anime about it, just like Yu-Gi-Oh refers to the card game as "Duel Monsters" on the show[1], but the real life card game is just "Yu Gi Oh."

[1] which, speaking of trademark infringement, Wizards...

Idiotic Trademark disputes are the REAL monster here. There aught to be severe automatic penalties for frivolous lawsuits, and a strict time limit how long these cases can be disputed.

Trying to lay a trademark on the word "kaiju" makes about as much sense as laying down a trademark on the word "fish". It's not a description of any individual IP, it's a fucking word in the language.

Owyn_Merrilin:
Oh for god's sake, IP law needs to die. "Kaiju" is a generic term for Japanese monster movies. It has absolutely nothing to do with Wizard's trademark on "Kaijudo," which isn't even the name of the game -- that would be "Duel Masters." Kaijudo is the name they used in the anime about it, just like Yu-Gi-Oh refers to the card game as "Duel Monsters" on the show[1], but the real life card game is just "Yu Gi Oh."

It's trademark law, not IP law, and it's the same issue with the Scrolls/Elder Scrolls thing that happened between Bethesda and Mojang. It's idiotic, but it's not the fault of the companies, because they can be seen as not protecting their trademark if they don't do anything, so they are forced to legal action.

[1] which, speaking of trademark infringement, Wizards...

CJ1145:
Trying to lay a trademark on the word "kaiju" makes about as much sense as laying down a trademark on the word "fish". It's not a description of any individual IP, it's a fucking word in the language.

Well it's more like trying to sue someone over the use of words like "Action", "Horror" or "Western" in the title of their movie/game/whatever. It's not just a word in the language, it's explicitly a generic term in the exact context in which it is used.

The entire "Space Marines" affair made more sense than this...

CJ1145:
Trying to lay a trademark on the word "kaiju" makes about as much sense as laying down a trademark on the word "fish". It's not a description of any individual IP, it's a fucking word in the language.

They're not claiming a trademark on "Kaiju", they're doing that as an obligatory measure to protect their "Kaijudo" trademark, otherwise they could lose it in the future. It's the same thing with Bethesda vs. Mojang over the latter's "Scrolls" game. Bethesda doesn't own the word "Scrolls", but it was forced to act because of trademark laws. The laws are the problem here, not individual companies.

This is what happens when laws make companies work for their lawyers, not the other way around

ITT: people who don't understand why Wizards are involved, but are yelling at them anyway.

tautologico:

It's trademark law, not IP law

Trademark IS IP. IP stands for "intellectual property," which refers to trademarks as well as patents, copyright and more.

tautologico:

Owyn_Merrilin:
Oh for god's sake, IP law needs to die. "Kaiju" is a generic term for Japanese monster movies. It has absolutely nothing to do with Wizard's trademark on "Kaijudo," which isn't even the name of the game -- that would be "Duel Masters." Kaijudo is the name they used in the anime about it, just like Yu-Gi-Oh refers to the card game as "Duel Monsters" on the show[1], but the real life card game is just "Yu Gi Oh."

It's trademark law, not IP law, and it's the same issue with the Scrolls/Elder Scrolls thing that happened between Bethesda and Mojang. It's idiotic, but it's not the fault of the companies, because they can be seen as not protecting their trademark if they don't do anything, so they are forced to legal action.

Actually, it is IP law. Trademarks, copyrights, and patents are the three major forms of IP. Therefore, Trademark law is a part of IP law. My point is we need to scrap all of it, because at this point it's doing the exact opposite of what it's supposed to do. And like I said, they aren't even defending their trademark. Their trademark is on Kaijudo, not Kaiju. Kaiju is the name for a genre of monster movies which predates Kaijudo by about 50 years.

[1] which, speaking of trademark infringement, Wizards...

Owyn_Merrilin:

tautologico:

Owyn_Merrilin:
Oh for god's sake, IP law needs to die. "Kaiju" is a generic term for Japanese monster movies. It has absolutely nothing to do with Wizard's trademark on "Kaijudo," which isn't even the name of the game -- that would be "Duel Masters." Kaijudo is the name they used in the anime about it, just like Yu-Gi-Oh refers to the card game as "Duel Monsters" on the show[1], but the real life card game is just "Yu Gi Oh."

It's trademark law, not IP law, and it's the same issue with the Scrolls/Elder Scrolls thing that happened between Bethesda and Mojang. It's idiotic, but it's not the fault of the companies, because they can be seen as not protecting their trademark if they don't do anything, so they are forced to legal action.

Actually, it is IP law. Trademarks, copyrights, and patents are the three major forms of IP. Therefore, Trademark law is a part of IP law. My point is we need to scrap all of it, because at this point it's doing the exact opposite of what it's supposed to do. And like I said, they aren't even defending their trademark. Their trademark is on Kaijudo, not Kaiju. Kaiju predates Kaijudo by about 50 years.

I stand corrected about IP law, I guess it was a reflex over people commonly calling it a copyright issue.

I'm not a lawyer, but I think they are trying to defend their trademark, and not just be jerks. The word "Scrolls" predate "Elder Scrolls" by much longer, and even so the analyses I've read at the time by people who knew about the subject were almost all unanimous in saying that Bethesda had to try and defend their trademark, even though they had no claim over the word "Scrolls", because of the similarity of theme, and both products being on the same medium (computer/video games) and what not. I think it's reasonable to say that this game on KS and a potential Kaijudo game by Wizards would be very similar indeed, so they are probably compelled to action just as Bethesda was.

[1] which, speaking of trademark infringement, Wizards...

tautologico:

Owyn_Merrilin:

tautologico:

It's trademark law, not IP law, and it's the same issue with the Scrolls/Elder Scrolls thing that happened between Bethesda and Mojang. It's idiotic, but it's not the fault of the companies, because they can be seen as not protecting their trademark if they don't do anything, so they are forced to legal action.

Actually, it is IP law. Trademarks, copyrights, and patents are the three major forms of IP. Therefore, Trademark law is a part of IP law. My point is we need to scrap all of it, because at this point it's doing the exact opposite of what it's supposed to do. And like I said, they aren't even defending their trademark. Their trademark is on Kaijudo, not Kaiju. Kaiju predates Kaijudo by about 50 years.

I stand corrected about IP law, I guess it was a reflex over people commonly calling it a copyright issue.

I'm not a lawyer, but I think they are trying to defend their trademark, and not just be jerks. The word "Scrolls" predate "Elder Scrolls" by much longer, and even so the analyses I've read at the time by people who knew about the subject were almost all unanimous in saying that Bethesda had to try and defend their trademark, even though they had no claim over the word "Scrolls", because of the similarity of theme, and both products being on the same medium (computer/video games) and what not. I think it's reasonable to say that this game on KS and a potential Kaijudo game by Wizards would be very similar indeed, so they are probably compelled to action just as Bethesda was.

See, I don't see a similarity here at all. Kaiju Combat is a fighting game from what I can gather. Duel Monsters (which is the actual name of the game that the Kaijudo trademark goes with, and is itself a darn near trademark infringing knockoff of YuGiOh) is a trading card game. There is next to no chance that a potential Duel Monsters game would be any thing like Kaiju Combat. For that matter, Scrolls didn't have all that much in common with The Elder Scrolls, but it was much less of a jump than the jump from a fighting game to a trading card game.

Owyn_Merrilin:

tautologico:

Owyn_Merrilin:

Actually, it is IP law. Trademarks, copyrights, and patents are the three major forms of IP. Therefore, Trademark law is a part of IP law. My point is we need to scrap all of it, because at this point it's doing the exact opposite of what it's supposed to do. And like I said, they aren't even defending their trademark. Their trademark is on Kaijudo, not Kaiju. Kaiju predates Kaijudo by about 50 years.

I stand corrected about IP law, I guess it was a reflex over people commonly calling it a copyright issue.

I'm not a lawyer, but I think they are trying to defend their trademark, and not just be jerks. The word "Scrolls" predate "Elder Scrolls" by much longer, and even so the analyses I've read at the time by people who knew about the subject were almost all unanimous in saying that Bethesda had to try and defend their trademark, even though they had no claim over the word "Scrolls", because of the similarity of theme, and both products being on the same medium (computer/video games) and what not. I think it's reasonable to say that this game on KS and a potential Kaijudo game by Wizards would be very similar indeed, so they are probably compelled to action just as Bethesda was.

See, I don't see a similarity here at all. Kaiju Combat is a fighting game from what I can gather. Duel Monsters (which is the actual name of the game that the Kaijudo trademark goes with, and is itself a darn near trademark infringing knockoff of YuGiOh) is a trading card game. There is next to no chance that a potential Duel Monsters game would be any thing like Kaiju Combat. For that matter, Scrolls didn't have all that much in common with The Elder Scrolls, but it was much less of a jump than the jump from a fighting game to a trading card game.

I'm really out of my field here, but my guess is that lawyers wouldn't get hang up on details about game genres. The theme is quite similar, both would have giant monsters stomping on Tokyo and so on, so for someone who is not a gamer the two games would seem very similar, I guess, even though they could play very differently. But I really don't know, so you may be right.

tautologico:

Owyn_Merrilin:

tautologico:

I stand corrected about IP law, I guess it was a reflex over people commonly calling it a copyright issue.

I'm not a lawyer, but I think they are trying to defend their trademark, and not just be jerks. The word "Scrolls" predate "Elder Scrolls" by much longer, and even so the analyses I've read at the time by people who knew about the subject were almost all unanimous in saying that Bethesda had to try and defend their trademark, even though they had no claim over the word "Scrolls", because of the similarity of theme, and both products being on the same medium (computer/video games) and what not. I think it's reasonable to say that this game on KS and a potential Kaijudo game by Wizards would be very similar indeed, so they are probably compelled to action just as Bethesda was.

See, I don't see a similarity here at all. Kaiju Combat is a fighting game from what I can gather. Duel Monsters (which is the actual name of the game that the Kaijudo trademark goes with, and is itself a darn near trademark infringing knockoff of YuGiOh) is a trading card game. There is next to no chance that a potential Duel Monsters game would be any thing like Kaiju Combat. For that matter, Scrolls didn't have all that much in common with The Elder Scrolls, but it was much less of a jump than the jump from a fighting game to a trading card game.

I'm really out of my field here, but my guess is that lawyers wouldn't get hang up on details about game genres. The theme is quite similar, both would have giant monsters stomping on Tokyo and so on, so for someone who is not a gamer the two games would seem very similar, I guess, even though they could play very differently. But I really don't know, so you may be right.

I see what you're saying, but Kaijudo doesn't even have the giant monsters stomping on Tokyo thing going for it. It's literally a YuGiOh knockoff, a particularly blatant one that came out right at the height of YuGiOh's popularity. The worst part about all this is that they intentionally named it Duel Masters to confuse kids into thinking it was YuGiOh, which on the show and in the manga called the game "Duel Monsters." See the similarities there? Yet they didn't get sued by Konami over it, despite there being a lot of money involved on both ends. I really don't see how it could be something obligatory if Konami ignored something that blatant, while Wizards is going after something so tenuous, especially since the IP they're supposedly trying to protect is the one that is so blatantly infringing on Konami's IP. It really looks like they're trying to shake these guys down for money because they're too small to afford the lawyers and legal fees.

New way to settle IP disputes:

The losers legal team are all shot in the head directly after the trial. Legal teams will be VERY careful about who they take to court because if they lose its their heads, and it has the added benefit of getting id of more lawyers, which is never a bad prospect! :P

A friend of mine was upset about Kaiju Combat and wanted it to die because certain furries had put enough money into their Kickstarter to get their own (seemingly dull and bland) characters into the game.

This same friend has just said he is not buying anything Wizards of the Coast anymore because of this.

Make of that what you will.

Desert Punk:
New way to settle IP disputes:

The losers legal team are all shot in the head directly after the trial. Legal teams will be VERY careful about who they take to court because if they lose its their heads, and it has the added benefit of getting id of more lawyers, which is never a bad prospect! :P

Make it so it only happens if the plaintiff loses, and I'd just about be willing to sign on to this. Otherwise, you'd have lawyers suing people just to get their rivals killed off :P

Owyn_Merrilin:
Oh for god's sake, IP law needs to die. "Kaiju" is a generic term for Japanese monster movies.

Very much this. This is getting annoyingly close to Tim "Edge" Langdell territory.

Owyn_Merrilin:

Desert Punk:
New way to settle IP disputes:

The losers legal team are all shot in the head directly after the trial. Legal teams will be VERY careful about who they take to court because if they lose its their heads, and it has the added benefit of getting id of more lawyers, which is never a bad prospect! :P

Make it so it only happens if the plaintiff loses, and I'd just about be willing to sign on to this. Otherwise, you'd have lawyers suing people just to get their rivals killed off :P

Good point! I like that addition.

But then you have the chance that those plaintiffs might win just because a judge is a pansy and doesn't want to give anyone the death sentence.

We must have a computer preside over these IP trials!
image
"All rise for his honor, Judge T-800. Alright be seated, and pray."

Desert Punk:
New way to settle IP disputes:

The losers legal team are all shot in the head directly after the trial. Legal teams will be VERY careful about who they take to court because if they lose its their heads, and it has the added benefit of getting id of more lawyers, which is never a bad prospect! :P

Make it so that the winner's legal team are shot in the head as well.

Gee, advocating violence against people you disagree with? Losers, or both sides, shot in the head? That's pretty barbaric. Good thing we've got laws, and lawyers, to defend against such things.

As has already been stated, this is just the nature of the way trademarks work. If you've got a game with a trademark, even if it's generic sounding on its face, you're going to have to protect it, or you lose the ability to protect it later. Just take a moment to examine other trademarks, many of which are single words right out of the dictionary, and you'll start to understand. While this perhaps could have been handled more tactfully, it's not the least bit unusual.

We want to claim this foreign word as copyright because well.... it sounds like something we made up but really just stole it from a dictionary. Same reason that Pocket Monster is a trademark (two combined words) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (four combined words) is also a trademark, the word Kaiju cannot be a trademark.

My great great great grandfather filled a trademark for the word Card, so if you want to call anything a card game you now have to license the word Card from me. That is of course a lie but this is basically the current state of copyright and trademarking law. It lasts way to long and is way to broad. IP law needs an INCREDIBLE urgent revision. Basically burn all current documents about it and start again from scratch.

Sending my break up letter to Wizards of the Coast explaining why I can no longer support their company. This isn't the only crappy copyright debacle they have been a part of within the last 10 years, and I'm sure it won't be the last. I will follow this up within the next few weeks with a letter to my congress members discussing the need for copyright revision. This won't be happening immediately as I'm going to be doing a little research on how the laws work and where they should go before sending that letter. I'm hoping that the more information I have going in the more likely they will listen to what I have to say.

tautologico:

I'm not a lawyer, but I think they are trying to defend their trademark, and not just be jerks.

That's what I thought at first. But then three months after filing their legally obligated paperwork they contact Kickstarter directly to have the page shut down? That's beyond "legal defense of tradmark" by at least one unit of jerkishness.

 

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