Think Services, a division of United Business Media, has great respect for the CGPA and Howell and the work they have done in support of the game industry in China. We appreciate the opportunity to compete with them in the open market based on the quality of our conferences and the values that the Game Developers Conference® brand represents: learning, networking and inspiration, created and presented by game developers, for game developers.
Regretfully, however, we must dispute their allegations of April 8, and invite all interested parties to inquire further.
1. Think Services has established valuable reputation and goodwill in its Game Developers Conference (GDC) name through its longstanding use in connection with highly successful and world renowned game industry events. Given the international scope of our conferences, many consumers in the professional game industry from across the world have come to associate the services offered under the Game Developers Conference name exclusively with Think Services and/or its affiliates and subsidiaries. We therefore strive to uphold the integrity of our brand to consumers and avoid consumer confusion based on unauthorized associations with GDC. Our efforts to protect consumers in this manner are, in fact, mandated by law and do not constitute monopolistic behavior. In China and abroad, we have been repeatedly notified that potential advisors, sponsors, media partners, and consumers of CGPA's China GDC event are confused as to our association with this event, and are under the impression that Think Services is organizing this conference. Because the actions of the CGPA and Howell have created extensive consumer confusion in the marketplace, Think Services’ rights are being injured through unfair competition.
2. The CGPA and Howell have engaged and continue to engage in a series of anti-competitive tactics against Think Services’ "GDC China" event. Their recent call to boycott our Game Developers Conference event is only one example of many such actions, which include efforts to prohibit or discourage all press coverage related to Think Services’ “GDC China” event. These actions appear motivated by the unreasonable claim that our GDC event infringes the intellectual property rights of Howell and the CGPA. In reality, Howell has already acknowledged in its prior agreement with Think Services and IDG that Think Services (formerly CMP Media LLC) is the exclusive owner of the Game Developers Conference trademark. The termination of the parties' prior agreement in 2007 does not entitle the CGPA or Howell to continue operating an event under the "Game Developers Conference" name. We have the right to use the event data and materials and are not restricted on its use. We sympathize with companies subject to the CGPA’s boycott, which takes away an essential freedom of doing business - to choose the solution that best serves your company’s interests. The Game Developers Conference stands ready to serve you in any way we can be of assistance.
3. We recognize that competition and more options are actually good for the community. Each player should develop its unique approach and brand identity, which has been demonstrated in many markets to be successful. Creating confusion over established brands such as Think Services’ Game Developers Conference may benefit the newcomer in the short term, but forcing the Chinese game development community to choose sides ultimately damages the long-term health of the Chinese game industry. Think Services agrees that the CGPA should not tolerate monopolistic actions by foreign organizations in China. Furthermore, as a respected association of the game industry in China, it should neither tolerate nor engage in monopolistic actions of its own.
4. Global expansion does not constitute monopoly. In every region where the GDC has an event, it also has competitors: the Montreal International Game Summit, Casual Connect, Nordic Game Summit, KRI in Russia, Develop in the UK, and many others. We partner or have partnered with many of these entities where we share a common goal. However, we also vigorously defend our trademarks in all regions where we have obtained legal protection – and we respect the trademarks of our competitors by avoiding infringement at all costs. Experienced and successful event organizers throughout the world know us for our commitment to serving the game development community by delivering on the values the Game Developers Conference brand represents.
5. Think Services’ official title for the 2007 GDC China event was Strategic International Partner. Our official responsibilities were to, among other things: invite key figures of the development community to participate on the Advisory Board, invite speakers, make sales to exhibitors and sponsorships, and market the event. We resent and will continue to defend against the implication that Think Services had a minor role in organizing the 2007 event, and encourage interested parties with contacts in China to inquire into the true story.
6. We thank CGPA for clarifying Howell’s event name, and remind media outlets that Think Services’ event, held in Shanghai on October 11 – 13, is the Game Developers Conference China or GDC China. It’s important to note that GDC China is the only technology conference officially endorsed by the Ministry of Culture in China in 2009. According to the latest policy issued by the China state council in June of 2008, the Ministry of Culture oversees all events related to the Chinese game industry. As such, we reserve the right to seek additional guidance and support from related government offices in China to challenge anti-competitive tactics.
7. For GDC China in October 2009, we are unshaken in our resolve to create a world-class conference upholding the Game Developers Conference brand values: learning, networking and inspiration, created and presented by Chinese game developers, for Chinese game developers.
If you have any questions, please contact Kathy Schoback, EVP Global Brand Director for the GDC, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-947-6000.
For more information about GDC China, please visit www.China.GDConf.com.