Trademarks

Video Game Developers Spent Three Years in Legal Fight to Use Trademarked Word 'Sky' in Title

Release of No Man's Sky was delayed nearly two months.

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Hello Games/playstation.com

The developers of a new Playstation 4 video game out next month, No Man's Sky, were apparently engaged in a three-year-long battle over the use of the word "sky" with the British cable news company Sky TV, which has trademarked the word sky.

In fact, last year, Sky TV successfully prevented Microsoft from registering Skype as a trademark in Europe because of the similarities. And before that, Sky TV got Microsoft to change the name of its cloud storage service from Skydrive to Onedrive.

The managing director of developer Hello Games tweeted about the "secret stupid legal nonsense" over the weekend after the companies settled, as Ars Technica reported. The release of No Man's Sky was unexpectedly delayed by two months, and Ars Technica suggests it could've been because of the dispute over the name.

Silly trademark claims are not uncommon in the video game industry, either. Ars Technica notes that "arguments over trademarks for common words are rampant in the game industry, including zombie Atari's claim on the term 'Haunted House,' King's attempt to trademark the word 'Candy,' Ubisoft and EA's battle over the word Ghost, and Bethesda and Mojang's battle over the word 'Scrolls.'

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  1. Is this the world that Wittgenstein warned us about?

    1. World is trademarked by Blizzard Entertainment LLC*. Cease and desist all use of it immediately.

      *Don’t know if true or not, but wouldn’t be surprised.

    2. This seems really misguided. I thought trademarks were limited to a particular product or service category. Clearly, Sky TV does not make video games, so it should have ended there.

      1. Not so fast. They do create semi-realistic works of fiction in a video format.

    3. With talking incomprehensible lions who have names?

  2. Government regulation would have prevented this.

    /prog derp

    1. Well, since the field of trademark law is, by definition, a form of government regulation, then yes, “government regulation” could indeed have prevented this had the relevant trademark statutes been drafted differently. Conversely, you could abolish the field of trademark law altogether, but that would also require action via “government regulation” since there are older, common law trademark rules that exist in addition to formal trademark statutes, so merely repealing existing trademark statutes wouldn’t actually eliminate all forms of trademark law. You’d need a statute (i.e., government regulation) affirmatively abolishing common law trademark law to accomplish the total elimination of trademark law.

      1. Well, since the field of trademark law is, by definition, a form of government regulation, then yes, “government regulation” could indeed have prevented this had the relevant trademark statutes been drafted differently.

        Perhaps consider that the problem is more fundamental and less technical.

        Conversely, you could abolish the field of trademark law altogether, but that would also require action via “government regulation” since there are older, common law trademark rules that exist in addition to formal trademark statutes

        Common law trademarks were about fraud in authorship or producer rights, not about granting monopolies to the application of abstract concepts, ideas and words.

    2. Who regulates the regulators?

      1. Me, but I’m lazy and don’t like to work.

      2. we can just create a new agency for that np

    1. Nah, not even close. My favorite Onion headlines will always be:

      Desperate Vegetarians Declare Cows Plants
      and
      Ant-like Conformity Now Affordable

      1. Smells Like Splattered Brains

        Wasn’t technically a headline, just a banner item the week after Cobain offed himself. This was before the web version existed.

    2. One of my favorite similars;
      Half-Life 2 Physics Engine
      Contains Grand Unified Theory

      Game Engine Software Engineer at Valve, Jose Garcia discovered the theory. “The game engine ran too slowly. I was assigned the job of speeding it up,” he said. “I started out by combining some of the gravity equations with some of the other force equations and found it all started to fit together. After a day, I had fine-tuned the entire physics-animation functions down to four lines of code, which ran a bit faster,” he added.

    1. Debating the personhood of an entire minority demographic should not be a classroom exercise, as the classroom should not be an actively hostile space for people with underprivileged identities.”

      So. Many. Buzzwords.

      1. people with underprivileged identities

        Is the the term for trust fund babies who were raised in upper class neighborhoods by wealthy parents yet insist – due to their ethnicity, sexual preferences, sex, or transgender status – to be members of some “victim class,” unlike all those 5th generation white coal miners and rednecks from places like West Virginia with their “white privelege?” Is this their secret to getting around the cognitive dissonance that comes from being some of the most spoiled, privileged brats in the history of the world yet still claiming to be victims? I’ve always wondered how they manage that.

        1. Why do you think so many upper-class white women flock to social justice?

          1. Women more generally flock to social justice.

            1. Women more generally flock.

              1. Recent changes to bathroom laws may reign in some of this behavior.

          2. I always assumed it was so they could claim to understand the struggles of minorities in the hopes of getting a black boyfriend to piss off daddy.

          3. Because feelz and a desire to be relevant in between brunches?

    2. You must be under the misapprehension that higher learning is about learning. It’s really just a way to absorb money that newly minted adults take out in loans, that is then transferred to the facility and it’s faculty risk-free.

      If you irritate, or otherwise force personal growth, upon these people they will stop giving you their loan money guaranteed by the federal government.

      What are you, some kind of loony toon that thinks this whole thing should be more than one gigantic boondoggle? Madmen, all of you!

    3. Something tells me they didn’t get it. Maybe Lukianoff and Haidt should have used smaller words.

      1. fuck…. still working on my HTML

    4. “University’s Bias Response Team investigates professors who asked students to read “The Coddling of the American Mind” essay The Atlantic published earlier this year.”

      I actually can’t tell if that’s an Onion style spoof or reality is starting to overlap with satire.

      “The Bias Response Team contacted the professor, who responded that he was simply playing devil’s advocate to encourage a discussion amongst his students. University administrators encouraged him to avoid doing so”

      “In another incident report, the Bias Response Team noted a “conversation” with a professor who encouraged students to question rhetoric about gay rights, assigning students to take a position and debate it in class. … The student, whose name is redacted and who is referred to as “they” in the report, complained that “other students are required to watch the in-class debate and hear both arguments presented.””

      1. WHAT THE FUCK

        *pounds head on desk*

      2. Devil’s advocate is now problematic? John Stossel hit hardest.

  3. The rapping libertarian Jew, Dr. Feldman, has passed away. There are only two confirmed Jewish libertarians remaining globally. Wear your monocle at half-mast today.

    1. A few more than two. We’ve got Sullum, (((Renegade))) and several other admitted Jews here alone.

      1. *goes around with Star of David*

        Jeduen!

    2. Damn, that is scary that it happened so abruptly after his 15 minutes of (rather limited) fame at the convention.

      1. Also, apparently his last online act was just yesterday. Hey, there are worse ways to go.

        1. Apparently I fucked up that link, I meant that to say “was snarking at Jill Stein on gun control just yesterday”.

    3. My monocle is currently in the orphan shop being repolished, so I will wear my Johnson flag at half-mast instead.

    4. That sucks. He seemed like a pretty cool dude.

    5. Russ Roberts and ???

  4. Kean University student to serve ninety days in jail and five years on probation for racial threat hoax.

    Supporters of #BlackLivesMatter across the country called on the university to take action to protect protesting students, and demanded that Kean President Dawood Farahi resign. They tried to use the threat to demonstrate that Farahi had not done enough to diffuse racial tension on campus.

    The university’s campus law enforcement took swift action, but quickly discovered that the threat was a hoax. McKelvey was charged with “third degree creating a public alarm.” McKelvey was convicted and received the maximum sentence possible after turning down a plea agreement. In addition to the jail time and community service, she will undergo treatment for anger management. She will also have to pay $82,000 in restitution for the university for resources it wasted in investigating, neutralizing and providing security against her threat.

    *Muntz laugh*

      1. Dummy should have taken the plea deal.

      2. This sounds like the kind of statue where if a black person makes a ‘hoax’ threat towards a ‘minority’ community they can say ‘haha just kidding guys!’ and get off with 90 days and an admittedly hefty fine to your average person.

        I’m going to go ahead and guess if it were not a black person that was caught and said ‘haha just kidding guys!’ it would be a lot less forgiving.

        Then again, I’m completely unfamiliar with “Third Degree Creating Public Alarm”, but just the name sounds Orwellian.

        1. It also sounds like bad grammar.

      3. One of the SUNY Albany hoaxers just pled guilty earlier this week.

    1. 90 days in the cooler – I can accept that.

      5 fucking years on probation though? That’s ridiculous. 1 year, maybe 2.

      1. I think the $82,000.00 in restitution is plenty.

    2. @Keanuagainstblk

      I can’t imagine how anyone thought it might be fake…

    3. Supporters of #BlackLivesMatter across the country called on the university to take action to protect protesting students, and demanded that Kean President Dawood Farahi resign. They tried to use the threat to demonstrate that Farahi had not done enough to diffuse racial tension on campus.

      They’re right though. This university president didn’t expel every single BlackLivesMatterer in attendance at the university, which of course is the solution to the problem of people on campus creating racial tension.

    4. Supporters of #BlackLivesMatter across the country called on the university to take action to protect protesting students, and demanded that Kean President Dawood Farahi resign. They tried to use the threat to demonstrate that Farahi had not done enough to diffuse racial tension on campus.

      So this stupid bint created a fake twitter account, made a fake threat in order to gin up fake racial tension, and the BLM idiots bought it hook like and sinker. Maybe next time they’ll wait for confirmation before jumping on their outrage hobby horses and running over the nearest college president for not catering to their phony concerns…

      BWAHAAHAHAHAHA!!!!11!!!!! No they won’t.

    5. Acts of racism on campus are faked 100% of the time.

  5. No Man’s Sky, were apparently engaged in a three-year-long battle over the use of the word “sky” with the British cable news company Sky TV, which has trademarked the word sky.

    On an irony scale of 1-10, this might be an 8.

    1. Murdoch is a dick. Pretty sure that’s one of his babies.

    2. Apparently it was actually That Chap’s Sky.

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  7. Will Hit n Run acknowledge the Supreme Court ruling (or, actually, lack of ruling) on Obama’s immigration decree? It’s only the biggest news of the day, and instead you’re posting stories about video game trademarks?

    1. Shika will be along to complain about how evil and wrong it is that the courts won’t let the president unulaterally ignore processes and procedures even in defiance of their own word.

    2. Since Damon Root has posting posting articles all day regarding SCOTUS rulings I would think he will get to that particular one too.

    3. Not a lot there. It was a 4-4 one-sentence opinion, so the lower court ruling stands.

  8. Well, I have them beat. I’ve patented the actual sky.

    1. I invented the question mark.

      1. The Judge won’t like that…

        1. Playa made his fortune on that licensing agreement alone.

  9. How long before someone patents the entire english language? Stop fuckin’ around and just patent language.

    1. Don’t be silly.

      Languages are copywrit.

      1. Language is copy writ LARGE.

    2. Some arbitrary semi-government committee/institute/politburo in France has effectively done that with French, whose mission it is to centrally plan the language.

      1. Most major languages are “regulated”. One might connect English’s open source nature with its popularity as a lingua franca.

        1. Some are regulators, some are more for advocacy and promotion without necessarily claiming the authority to steer it’s natural progression. The most regulatey bunch I’ve read about are the French counterparts who are not keen on borrowing words. Which is an impulse I can understand from the point of view of a minority language on the cusp of obsolescence, but coming from the French it seems like the result of hyper-insecurity about their linguistic place in the world.

          1. The French being insecure about their place in the world? Nah, that’s crazy talk.

          2. Given that French has destroyed, or at least marginalized, a number of languages on its own, it’s kind of rich for them to be decrying pernicious foreign influence.

          3. Nonsense. The French just have the sense and decency to avoid cultural appropriation. And for that I say merci.

        2. lingua franca is ‘othering’. French hasn’t been in that position for a while, we should stop using that loan phrase.

        3. Mulatto, more needs to be said and written about the libertarian nature of language evolution and the natural analogs to political philosophy, and about how that is inherently human and what it means to be a human.

          1. It’s somewhat notable that the Acad?mie fran?aise loses at least as many battles as it wins. A number of loanwords, especially from English concerning technology, are in popular usage.

            1. It’s called an ordinateur you English savages.

        4. Hey, who parmesan’ed my champagne?

  10. Surprised there hasn’t been any Serenity references yet.

    1. Clearly, because it’s no man’s sky, they did finally succeed at taking the sky from him.

  11. Nobody tell them about Kenny “Sky” Walker.

    1. Maybe because that song came out 12 years before their founding and they don’t want to acknowledge the word was used prior to their use?

  12. http://www.nbcnews.com/pop-cul…..ic-n597761

    Jury finds for Led Zeppelin in Stairway to Heaven law suit.

    1. Good. That Marvin Gaye thing was a disturbing precedent. I’m glad it’s not being followed too closely. All music (that anyone wants to listed to) sounds a bit like other music.

      1. Yeah, I agree. The LZ suit was lame as hell.

      2. The Marvin Gaye thing was a pretty big rip off. But so much music is just that.

        1. If you ask me, copyright should stop people from taking someone else’s composition or recording and selling it without compensating the author had that’s it. No one was buying Stairway to Heaven when they meant to buy Taurus or whatever that was.
          You can’t own the general intangible feel of something. Otherwise the whole basis for musical tradition has been made illegal.

      3. (that anyone wants to listed to)

        Hasn’t Yoko One taken enough shit?

        1. OH NO!

          That’s Ono.

    2. What i don’t get, and maybe it would involve proving loss of revenue, but I’d think at the very get-go one would have to prove the “swapability” of the two pieces – that there’s a strong desire to replace one with the other with the consumer market place. That if one is Jonesing for ANOTHER spin of Stairway, or Taurus, they play to other just as easily. There’s isn’t ONCE that I listened to Stairway instead of Taurus. Wold Taurus been the most requested song in history of S.T.H. hadn’t stolen its glory?

      AND, I’d say more copies of Taurus have probably been sold since it became a meme that S.T.H sounds similar. They should be happy that the tune is even anywhere near on the radar instead of trying to go for a deep pocket.

      Having said that, LZ certainly lifted lock/stock/barrel without credit, which is unsavory, but I’d STILL assert, from a laissez-faire stand point, Anne Bredon or Jake Holmes or whomever would have to show that they were infringed upon. While LZ lifted Dazed and Confused, without credit, I don’t think sales of The Above Ground Sound plummeted thereby. I simply can’t see many consumers standing by the H section of the record store, hand hovering above Jake’s album, but they dashed over to the L section and grabbed up LZ 1 instead.

      1. Yeah, I agree that should pretty much be the standard.

        I’d also add that the intro for STH is pretty damn simple arpeggio of a common chord with a pretty common psychedelic/folk rock background. It’s perfectly plausible that they came up with it independently.

  13. I thought ordinary English words could not be trademarked, and that is why so many products have names that are spelled differently than the English words the names sound like (e.g. Fantastik). At least that has always been the law in the U.S., I don’t know about the U.K.

  14. a three-year-long battle over the use of the word “sky”

    I always wonder why this crap doesn’t get laughed out of court but I’m not a lawyer so ?\_(?)_/?

    1. You cannot Trademark a common word. However Lawyers. =D

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  16. Maybe because that song came out 12 years before their founding and they don’t want to acknowledge the word was used prior to their use?
    nba-livemobilehack

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