Doodle Jump developer Lima Sky has been informing studios that also use 'doodle' in their product titles that they are in violation of its trademark.
In a situation which apparently echoes that of the notorious Tim Langdell and his ultimately failed attempts to claim trademark of the word 'edge', a number of developers have received demands from Lima Sky and Apple that they must alter the games' titles or face being pulled from the App Store.
Said Doodle Monster studio Robots Vs Wizards, "Well after a full year it looks like using the word "Doodle" violates Lima Sky's copyright... We can't really debate it.
"In the Apple world they can pull your app just from mere implication. There is no proving you are right or wrong. Apple can simply remove an app based on Lima Sky's implication."
However, the developer changed his mind about renaming Doodle Monster following claims by another studio, Acceleroto, that Lima Sky may have misinterpreted its own patent.
"Igor [Pusenjak, Lima Sky founder] is flexing a muscle that he doesn't have," said Acceleroto's Bryan Duke. "I have a game called Doodle Hockey in the App Store. I've been extremely quiet about this, but I have been in a trademark opposition battle with Lima Sky over it for the past several months."
Duke established that Lima Sky owns the trademarks for Doodle Jump (USPTO Serial Number 77969334 and Registration Number 3870107), registered on November 2, 2010, plus a 'design-only' trademark for its main character.
However, "Lima Sky does not own the trademark for the word 'doodle'... Every lawyer I've spoken with thinks Igor doesn't have a leg to stand on here."
Duke also notes that "Doodle Jump wasn't the first application in the iPhone App Store that contained "doodle" in the title," while games on other platforms using the contentious term in their names have existed since 1997.
Pocketgamer.biz solicited somewhat contradictory statements from Lima Sky, the studio initially claiming "We are required by USPTO to monitor and police our trade marks. If we don't, we lose them."
In a follow-up, Pusenjak later stated that "We are not claiming ownership of the trademark for 'doodle'... More to come."
Over 730 App Store submissions using the word 'doodle' in their names have been approved to date. It is unknown as yet how many, and which specifically, of these Lima Sky intends to target.