Iron Maiden files trademark lawsuit against Ion Maiden

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Re: Iron Maiden files trademark lawsuit against Ion Maiden

Postby Graf Zahl » Thu Jun 20, 2019 11:38 pm

RexS wrote:I mean what if you named your band "Sword." Or "Guillotine." Can you not name your game "Guilloteam" after the execution device?


If you named your band "Sword", you'd have a hard time trademarking that because the word is just too common. You might get away to get a narrow trademark that's limited to music, but not much beyond. Same for Guillotine. Both of these terms are primarily being associated with the weapon/execution device.

These days, when people mention "Iron Maiden", you can rest assured that outside the group that never heard the term, the majority will associate it with the band and not the (more or less fictional) torture device.
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Re: Iron Maiden files trademark lawsuit against Ion Maiden

Postby Enjay » Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:13 am

RexS wrote:I don't know. My dad listened to a lot of Iron Maiden when I was growing up, and I don't really think of the band when I heard the word. I think of the torture device ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_maiden ).

When I first saw the name, my immediate reaction was that it was probably intended as a pun on the band name rather than the device. I have seen them live (and it was a great concert) but I wouldn't class them as one of my favourite bands. Surely someone who does (did) consider them as one of their favourites would be even more likely to think of the band than me?

What's more, I didn't spend hours/days/weeks thinking about the game name and its connotations as someone involved with the game would/should. I simply can't believe that a self-professed fan never made the link.
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Re: Iron Maiden files trademark lawsuit against Ion Maiden

Postby Enjay » Fri Jun 21, 2019 2:44 am

Matt wrote:I've never heard of any defence arising from the alleged infringer's subjective ignorance, at least not in answering the question of whether they would be allowed to use their too-similar mark.

I have, many times. It is very common in copyright cases, especially music ones, but also in trademark disputes too. It's all about trying to establish intent. If it can be reasonably argued that the defendant had no knowledge of the mark, then their infringement was coincidental and unintended. If they know about the mark, that is no longer a safe assumption. A case could even be built on the likelihood of deliberate infringement based on the defendant's knowledge and other factors. While this will not change the decision on whether the mark has been compromised or not, it can affect the nature of the ruling if the defendant is found to be in the wrong.


Putting aside the initial choice (which I still feel was unwise), things have not been handled desperately well since the conflict came to light.Here we have a party ignoring a C&D letter and also publicly stating that they are (were) a fan of the injured party. It is now much less of a leap to say that the name was never associated with the band in the heads of the game creators.

I'm not trying to suggest malice, BTW. The name sounding like Iron Maiden was probably thought to be cool and a tribute. I'm just suggesting that it was an unwise and naive choice. Who knows, the "we already had a weapon named that and that's what the game was named after" defence might even work.

I'd have gone for something cheesy like "before the bombshell" or something. And that's why I don't have a job naming games. :lol:
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Re: Iron Maiden files trademark lawsuit against Ion Maiden

Postby Chris » Fri Jun 21, 2019 5:30 am

Enjay wrote:If it can be reasonably argued that the defendant had no knowledge of the mark, then their infringement was coincidental and unintended. If they know about the mark, that is no longer a safe assumption. A case could even be built on the likelihood of deliberate infringement based on the defendant's knowledge and other factors. While this will not change the decision on whether the mark has been compromised or not, it can affect the nature of the ruling if the defendant is found to be in the wrong.

And don't forget trademarks work in relation to specific categories of use. Iron Maiden, being a band, is not something people associate with video games. Yes, they've made a couple video games, apparently, but that's not common knowledge. Certainly his statement doesn't say he knew about the band's video games. To me, saying "our video game name turned out to be a pun on the band name" doesn't imply willful intent for infringing on Iron Maiden's video game mark, if they only knew about the mark in relation to their music. Even if they're found to be infringing, Iron Maiden would probably have to prove they knew about the video game mark to prove willful infringement, not simply that they knew of a similar mark in a different category of goods from theirs.
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Re: Iron Maiden files trademark lawsuit against Ion Maiden

Postby Rachael » Fri Jun 21, 2019 6:25 am

Unfortunately, it's up to a court to decide - *if* they even make it that far. 3D Realms is not exactly a giant company, and they might be willing to settle the lawsuit as opposed to fighting it. And unfortunately ... well, 'murica. If you don't got the dough, you don't win the case.
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Re: Iron Maiden files trademark lawsuit against Ion Maiden

Postby Caligari87 » Fri Jun 21, 2019 8:18 am

Graf Zahl wrote:
RexS wrote:I mean what if you named your band "Sword." Or "Guillotine." Can you not name your game "Guilloteam" after the execution device?

If you named your band "Sword", you'd have a hard time trademarking that because the word is just too common. You might get away to get a narrow trademark that's limited to music, but not much beyond. Same for Guillotine. Both of these terms are primarily being associated with the weapon/execution device.

Not really relevant or proving any points, but I just want to mention there are at least eight metal bands called "Sword" (or "The Sword" in one particular case I already knew of) and fifteen named "Guillotine". Just a fun little sidebar.

8-)
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Re: Iron Maiden files trademark lawsuit against Ion Maiden

Postby Graf Zahl » Fri Jun 21, 2019 9:57 am

Chris wrote:And don't forget trademarks work in relation to specific categories of use. Iron Maiden, being a band, is not something people associate with video games.


That very much depends on the trademark. If it's a well known brand that's nearly automatically connected with the trademark's owner it may be protected everywhere.
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Re: Iron Maiden files trademark lawsuit against Ion Maiden

Postby Chris » Fri Jun 21, 2019 11:13 am

Graf Zahl wrote:That very much depends on the trademark. If it's a well known brand that's nearly automatically connected with the trademark's owner it may be protected everywhere.

A famous mark, yeah. Where the mark is so recognizable as referring to you, it basically applies to every category. Disney would be an example of a famous mark. Whether or not Iron Maiden's mark is strong enough to be a famous mark would be for a court to decide.
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Re: Iron Maiden files trademark lawsuit against Ion Maiden

Postby Rachael » Fri Jun 21, 2019 11:17 am

Honestly it'd be a bit of a stretch if the band honestly thinks it is famous enough to compare itself to Disney.

I don't know how often civil cases go to jury, but if this one does, and the jury happens to be very young, the band will be fucked 6 ways to Sunday.
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Re: Iron Maiden files trademark lawsuit against Ion Maiden

Postby Gez » Fri Jun 21, 2019 11:32 am

What I take from this whole situation is that I probably should not release a clone of Zoo Keeper under the title "Lion Mayhem".
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Re: Iron Maiden files trademark lawsuit against Ion Maiden

Postby Enjay » Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:01 pm

I guess all that I have been trying to say in all of my comments is that the name has always seemed ill-advised to me.

If I was releasing a commercial product and had considered calling it a name that shared, or closely punned another famous brand (even one completely unrelated) I would have shied away from doing so and picked another name just to be safe. I just find it odd that such caution was not exercised. Regardless of how the case turns out, to me there was always the possibility that something like this could happen with a name like that and I would have ensured that it didn't by picking a name (of which there would be many options) that - as far as possible - avoided any such potential links.
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Re: Iron Maiden files trademark lawsuit against Ion Maiden

Postby Rachael » Fri Jun 21, 2019 1:44 pm

That is a very strong point, Enjay. But a lack of caution does not excuse big boys for being assholes, in my opinion. If I ever had any goodwill towards Iron Maiden, it was gone when they tried to pull this shit.
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Re: Iron Maiden files trademark lawsuit against Ion Maiden

Postby Matt » Fri Jun 21, 2019 1:47 pm

Merits and what's at stake aside, I am amused at the thought of the lawyers going through jury selection trying to determine exactly what kind of metalhead each candidate might be...
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Re: Iron Maiden files trademark lawsuit against Ion Maiden

Postby Graf Zahl » Fri Jun 21, 2019 2:00 pm

Even more funny is the thought that metalheads are not the type to appreciate corporate bullying.
So what do they decide... :twisted:

On the other hand, Iron Maiden is such an old band now that many of their fans are way above 50 these days.
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Re: Iron Maiden files trademark lawsuit against Ion Maiden

Postby Enjay » Fri Jun 21, 2019 2:51 pm

Rachael wrote:That is a very strong point, Enjay. But a lack of caution does not excuse big boys for being assholes, in my opinion.

I think, as a general point, trademarks can and should be protected and, if that means doing so using the courts, then so be it. But I also feel and agree that common sense and being decent human beings should also be a part of the consideration.

However, I'm not convinced that corporate lawyers are decent at all and are possibly not even human. For them, winning, the chance to be a snake (sorry to real snakes) and a ruthless "screw the other guy to get what you have set out to get and stuff the consequences for him" (in fact, screwing over the other guy is often part of the "prize") attitude is prevalent. I know this from personal experience and even from a corporate lawyer who I used to consider a friend (nothing dramatic, and nothing that really affected me particularly adversely, but I've watched it unfold countless times).

So, unfortunately, in all that mess, being an asshole is basically the default. In this particular case, there are other, more human, ways forward and a number of possible potentially easily mutually agreeable outcomes that could have been handled better and cast both parties in a better light (to be fair, both sides could be handling it better - ignoring the C&D was not a smart move). Could the big boy have been the bigger man and offered some sort of olive branch (even given the short-sightedness of 3DR)? Yes, probably. Could it still happen somehow? Maybe. Fingers crossed.

I utterly agree that the big boys should not be assholes; even that there is a moral imperative not to be. They are people who are in a position (financially and otherwise) to choose not to be. However, that's rarely the case and lawyers coming after Ion Maiden (with, or without the band's direct support/involvement (I don't know either way)) is really not a surprise, shame though it is. But, I said, IMO 3DR should have recognised the possibility of a problem and could have avoided the situation before anyone else had even realised that it might be a thing simply as an act of self-protection if nothing else.

Graf Zahl wrote:On the other hand, Iron Maiden is such an old band now that many of their fans are way above 50 these days.


Quite likely.

Bruce Dickinson in 2019
61 years of age on August 7th.
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