The developer conference landscape in China appears to have taken a new turn this week with the news that UBM, the company which owns Think Services and the GDC brand, has threatened to sue the LOGIN event over a partnership with the China GDC conference put together by Howell Expo.
The row has developed because UBM owns the copyright to the GDC brand, and Think Services is putting on its own event - GDC China - later in the year, while the Howell Expo event is taking place in the same location at the end of July.
In an open letter on the LOGIN website, event organiser Peter Freese claims that he was forced to pull out of a partnership with Howell Expo - which originally came about due to its popular consumer show ChinaJoy - because of legal pressure applied by UBM.
"We're not happy about doing this, but we feel our highest priority is to provide a quality event to our attendees," explained Freese. "This means that we run LOGIN essentially in 'break-even' mode; all the revenue from the conference, aside from small operational costs, goes to services for the attendees.
"I suppose if we were willing to over-charge and under-deliver, we could hire a large legal staff to defend against every 800-pound gorilla as well as offer big bonuses to ourselves. But that's just not the way we're interested in doing business. LOGIN is a labour of love, and we want you to think of it as your event as much as ours."
Possibly the most confusing aspect of all, however, is Howell Expo's claim that it has partnered with IGDA - the developer body that's had a "long and positive history" with Think Services (formerly CMP) as well as an existing strategic alliance.
"The Organization Committee of CGDC has recently reached a comprehensive cooperation with International Game Developers Association in convention promotion and audience invitation," said the CGDC website.
"As IGDA is an international association gathering global elites and professionals in the industry, this cooperation will help the world game industry to get more info of CGDC, and to gain opportunities to into the Chinese market. Moreover, CGDC will supply a discount to every IGDA member, and welcome more professionals and elites to visit us, to look for development chances in China."
There is no mention at the time of writing of the CGDC event on the IGDA website, although it does reference a partnership with ChinaJoy and news of the CGDC discount was sent out in the March newsletter.
GamesIndustry.biz has no existing partnerships in place with either Think Services or Howell Expo. Think Services and the IGDA have been contacted for comment/clarification.