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Law firm explains defence of 'stick' trademark

Sheridans: Stick Sports situation "very different" to Edge Games or Doodle Jump cases

Sheridans Solicitors, the firm that helped developer Mobigames in its battle against Tim Langdell's trademarking of the word 'edge', is now assisting Stick Sports' attempt to prevent other games from using the word 'stick' in their titles.

The firm also advised a number of developers who battled Doodle Jump studio Lima Sky over the usage of the word 'doodle'.

However, Sheridans believes there's a key point of difference for new client Stick Sports, which is right to have warned Apple and several other developers that the release of other games with the word 'stick' in their title infringes its UK trademark of the word. Sheridans and Stick Sports feel that this represents "passing off and unfair competition."

Stated Sheridans' Alex Chapman: "We have advised Stick Sports that its case is very different to those that have received public criticism before and it is therefore disappointing that the initial reaction of many has been to jump to same conclusion as was reached in respect of those other claims.

"For example, when Lima Sky tried to enforce its Doodle Jump mark in respect of games using the word 'Doodle' its trade mark was for 'Doodle Jump', not 'Doodle'. Therefore because its games and other games using the word 'Doodle' are based on or characterised by their doodle graphics there was no likelihood of consumers being confused into believing that the games originated from Lima Sky."

In the case of disgraced Edge Games boss Tim Langdell, his rights to the word 'edge' were rendered "invalid through non-use."

But according to Sheridans, Stick Games' situation is different because it "owns a registered trade mark for 'Stick' and has established substantial goodwill and reputation in that name, particularly when used in combination with sports games.

"It has worked hard and spent many years, since 2004, building its unique brand and developing games around it. Its games have had over 1 billion plays and well over 50 million unique users and as a result its 'Stick' brand has become widely recognised in the field of sports based games."

Chapman added that unlike 'doodle', 'stick' is "not descriptive or devoid of distinctive character. Put simply those games are characterised by their use of a 'stickman' and the reference to 'stick' in the name does not denote a characteristic of the game."

A number of Stick Sports' games feature thin, long-limbed characters, but they are not explicitly identified as 'stickmen'. To that end, the company is only concerned with games using the 'Stick' brand; there is no objection to any game using the word 'Stickman' instead, for example.

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Alec Meer

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A 10-year veteran of scribbling about video games, Alec primarily writes for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, but given any opportunity he will escape his keyboard and mouse ghetto to write about any and all formats.

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