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Doodle Jump Dev Admits Trademark Claim "Overreached"

| 14 Jan 2011 20:04
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Doodle Jump studio Lima Sky has withdrawn its trademark claims against other "Doodle"-named apps, admitting that it "overreached" with its infringement notice to Apple.

It looked like trouble ahead a couple of days ago when Lima Sky sent notice to the studios behind Doodle Monster and Doodle hockey claiming they were infringing on its "Doodle" trademark and demanding that their names be changed. There was also confusion as to what exactly spurred the complaint; Bryan Duke of Doodle Hockey maker Acceleroto dismissed the claim as not having a legal leg to stand out while Lima Sky co-founder Igor Pusenjak said he wasn't actually claiming ownership of "Doodle" at all.

But now it seems that all is well, at least for those games that don't legitimately infringe upon the Doodle Jump trademark. Pusenjak issued a statement today admitting that the situation had spun out of control and said he's withdrawn the notice of infringement that was sent to Apple.

"The notice overreached in asking Apple to remove the games and named some games that probably should not have been singled out," he wrote. "We never intended to have those games removed from the App Store, only to insist that infringing elements from those games (i.e. a title that infringes our trademark or a character that infringes our copyright) be changed. And we have made this clear to every developer who has contacted us -- you don't need to take your game down, but you need to change the infringing elements."

"So, if the name of your game is so close to Doodle Jump that people think Lima Sky created it, we are asking you to change that," he continued. "If you copied characters from Doodle Jump, we are asking you to change those."

Pusenjak claimed that "Doodle" didn't become popular as an App title until after Doodle Jump became a big hit and said that under U.S. trademark law, the studio is required to ask developers to stop using names similar to its trademarks. He also pointed out that while Duke exhorted other devs to "stand up to Lima Sky's threats," Duke himself attempted to trademark the word "Doodle" in April 8, 2010. That, in fact, is what spurred Lima Sky to trademark the term itself.

"We applied for a trademark on the word 'Doodle' in part as a defensive maneuver after we learned that Duke has applied for a trademark for the word 'Doodle' and were afraid he was going to use that against us," Pusenjak explained.

It's nice to see a happy ending to what could have turned into a very ugly story, although given the complexities of trademark law I wouldn't be too surprised if the matter flares up again at some point. For now, though, I take heart in the knowledge that sometimes, yes, we can all just get along. Pusenjak's full statement about Lima Sky's trademark claim can be read at Pocket Gamer.

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