Following the news yesterday that United Business Media, the owner of Think Services and the GDC brand, had sent rival event LOGIN a cease and desist letter over its partnership with Howell Expo's China GDC conference, the company has told GamesIndustry.biz that it is simply acting in defence of its IP.
"To protect its intellectual property - the GDC name - Think Services registered the GDC trademarks so that the global game development community can be assured that when the GDC name is aligned with an event, they know that they will access the most timely, relevant content and the most innovative and relevant speakers, and exposure to some of the most current development products and services," said conference director Meggan Scavio.
"Failure to defend the infringement of our intellectual property could result in a degradation of our legal rights. Therefore, we have no choice from time to time to send legal-type letters when we are confronted with what we believe is a representation that could lead to potential confusion in the marketplace. "Think Services [has always been] committed to protecting its IP globally in order to ensure that all of its conference and expo attendees, speakers, sponsors, exhibitors, industry partners, and media are clear on which organisation is truly presenting the all of our events. We will continue to protect our rights globally."
Meanwhile the IGDA - long-time strategic partner to the GDC events - is currently pondering next steps on its own partnership with Howell Expo's event.
"While I knew that Think Services had their conference going on later in the year, I did not realise (or we were not made aware of) the intensity of the dispute over the 'GDC' name, etc, at that time," outgoing executive director Jason Della Rocca told GamesIndustry.biz.
"Further, I did not question the legitimacy of Howell's efforts as they've been organising the ChinaJoy expo for several years (in fact, I attended and spoke at the first one a few years back). So, other than knowing it was a competing event generally speaking, there was no reason for me to be 'suspicious'.
"That said, the press release that was released by Howell on March 25 was unauthorised. It was not part of the contract. And, I did not get to review it (I was not even aware of it).
"We had a brief conversation with Think Services during GDC in San Francisco. They expressed their concerns and issues. The IGDA Board is discussing the matter internally."
Think Services is running a GDC China event in Shanghai in October, while Howell's China GDC event is in the same location in July.