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Author Topic: Stardock Highest Bidder on Star Control Trademark  (Read 23485 times)
Serosis
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Re: Stardock Highest Bidder on Star Control Trademark
« Reply #90 on: February 27, 2018, 08:20:39 pm »


Stardock has clearly been doing some shady stuff and seemed to be trying to muscle Fred and Paul out of their IP as much as they can get away with before this went public and maybe even before Ghosts was announced.

I want to see every bit of proof on this while you're still mouthing it off.

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their use of SC2 alien art in marketing Origins

You mean the commission of art to celebrate the 25th Anniversary that had in no way anything to do with marketing Origins?
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Re: Stardock Highest Bidder on Star Control Trademark
« Reply #91 on: February 27, 2018, 08:39:24 pm »

I want to see every bit of proof on this while you're still mouthing it off.
At the very least we know they forced the cancellation of the GOG agreement as has been publicly stated by Wardell. (second update) Why do this if you know tensions are brewing and want to avoid a legal conflict?
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Paul and Fred claimed they were the ones who had set up the agreement and upon verification with GOG, we instructed them to terminate this agreement which they have which we appreciate.
Also not long ago, Wardell was publicly claiming he had an exclusive license to the Ur-quan universe (including sequels) and that he would need to give Fred and Paul rights to their work to allow them to make Ghosts. Even if you're not trying to enforce your unlimited license behind the scenes, saying that you definitively have one when the contracts appears dubious about it at best is pretty sketchy.

Then there's the narrative in their legal complaints, where things started getting rough before Ghosts' announcement. It is very likely at least partly true (faking evidence is a crime - they're not going to quote from and give exact dates for e-mails that don't exist in a legal document). Admittedly it's true that we don't have the e-mails and no definitive proof of their description of events, but we don't have any explicit proof of Wardell's version of their communications where he is the reasonable one who only wants to compromise either. Both accounts are probably selective and omitting some important things. But IMO, the evidence we do have leans toward Fred and Paul's claims (though they also have a few weaker arguments too, yes), especially the contracts. And their account is in more formal and detailed legal format. So I'm more inclined to trust their version of what isn't proven.

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You mean the commission of art to celebrate the 25th Anniversary that had in no way anything to do with marketing Origins?
It was posted to an Ars Technica interview about Origins and put in the header of the Origins site. And it's one thing to draw or even personally commission fan art, it's another thing for a company to officially put it on their site without rights to it.

Anyway, that'll probably be my last post on this at least for a long time - don't want to keep fighting and want to withdraw from following the legal conflict a bit. You can have the last word.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2018, 10:22:23 pm by Mormont » Logged
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Re: Stardock Highest Bidder on Star Control Trademark
« Reply #92 on: February 27, 2018, 09:37:23 pm »

New blog by FF and PR:

https://www.dogarandkazon.com/blog/2018/2/27/report-from-planet-surface

Basically, they now publish the emails between them, Atari, and GOG of the previously referenced licensing contract between GOGand Paul Reiche, and the publishing contract between GOG and Atari.

The read is very interesting, and also very telling, and the results of this inter-party agreement between Atari and Paul Reiche will be considered by a judge admitting this as proof (IF admitted).
« Last Edit: February 27, 2018, 09:47:18 pm by Krulle » Logged
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Re: Stardock Highest Bidder on Star Control Trademark
« Reply #93 on: February 27, 2018, 09:56:55 pm »


EDIT:

Took a closer look at the Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter I linked to earlier, which is a game from "the creators of Ultima Underworld" by people who do not own the Ultima trademark. It is interesting for another reason:
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Far more than a dungeon crawl, Underworld Ascendant is a next-generation sequel to the legendary fantasy RPG’s Ultima Underworld & Ultima Underworld 2.
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Get drawn into an epic story with ties to the original Ultima Underworld games.
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Is this a “spiritual successor” to Ultima Underworld? Is it Ultima Underworld 3? Or what?

Underworld Ascendant is a genuine part of the Underworld series. We have the rights to use all of the elements of the original Underworld games, except for the Ultima brand itself. The characters, monsters, settings, and stories from the original Underworld games are all available for us.
So actually a pretty similar situation in more ways than one (Ultima Underworld 1 and SC2 even came out the same year). And they not only associated it with the first two Ultima Underworld games but explicitly called it a sequel. EA, owner of the Ultima trademark, did not protest. I don't know how much this would count as a precedent in a court of law, but it's definitely an interesting parallel that makes Stardock's position look worse. Neither of us are experts in TM law but Stardock seems to be making some pretty expansive claims to what their trademark means.
Is the Ultima trademark owner actually aware of this project?
Their case may follow.

Also, is the Ultima trademark owner currently trying to build something  new under the Ultima trademark?

A trademark does not have much value if you're currently not doing anything with it and just keeping it in reserve.
They might even be happy for a private project, and then they can latch redistribution of the old games on the new publication, so they start making a bit money again.
Or wait beyond the point of no return for the creators, and then sue them. (typical tactic with copyright infringements, the money is spent, stopping now would be desastrous -> good incentives for settlements)

The case for Stardock is different. Stardock has announced and is marketing and developing a new game under the trademark Star Control.
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Re: Stardock Highest Bidder on Star Control Trademark
« Reply #94 on: February 27, 2018, 10:05:54 pm »

Last post for real: from a quick look at trademark law I am not certain about this point, not having the expertise. You are definitely allowed to connect your product to someone else's trademark at times, but it's open to interpretation. I think there's a good chance either the courts or a settlement will say they can associate Ghosts with "Star Control" in certain ways but not in others.

Anyway, as I said I've wasted enough time arguing about this online. We'll see how it shakes out.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2018, 10:22:57 pm by Mormont » Logged
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Re: Stardock Highest Bidder on Star Control Trademark
« Reply #95 on: February 27, 2018, 10:34:18 pm »

Anyway, as I said I've wasted enough time arguing about this online. We'll see how it shakes out.

Yes, before this gets too heated I think as fans we should sit it out and wait.
This is an issue between Stardock and Paul & Fred. No amount of our bickering will help either cause.
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Re: Stardock Highest Bidder on Star Control Trademark
« Reply #96 on: February 27, 2018, 11:20:03 pm »

There's absolutely no reason for it to get heated. Most of us are trying to understand the facts, and make reasonable inferences about what that means for the future of Star Control. Keep in mind that if the game came out in 1990, then most of us are well north of 30 years old, at minimum. And that means that at least SOME of us here have professional, if not legal experience. And so many of us are capable of having an intelligent conversation about what's going on, and those who can't will properly tune out anyway.

As for what's going on, there's news nearly every day.

First, Paul and Fred published (alleged) emails where both Atari and GOG agreed that Atari's rights to publish the games had expired.

Quote from: Kelsey Musgrave @ Atari
Hi Paul, I had our attorney check this out and you are correct. I sincerely apologize for this mistake. We have a standard rights clearance process, but apparently our legal team was misled by the title of the game.

The second piece of news... apparently Stardock is trying to register a trademark for "The Ur Quan Masters":

http://tsdr.uspto.gov/#caseNumber=87720654&caseSearchType=US_APPLICATION&caseType=DEFAULT&searchType=statusSearch
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Re: Stardock Highest Bidder on Star Control Trademark
« Reply #97 on: February 28, 2018, 12:49:04 am »

The second piece of news... apparently Stardock is trying to register a trademark for "The Ur Quan Masters":

http://tsdr.uspto.gov/#caseNumber=87720654&caseSearchType=US_APPLICATION&caseType=DEFAULT&searchType=statusSearch

It looks like the application was denied because it wasn't signed, didn't demonstrate use in commerce, and was insufficiently precise.

I'm really baffled by this maneuver.  Even if they really wanted to push this, I doubt that Stardock could provide proof of use in commerce; any web search will turn up the open source project first, and any attempt to claim that the use of the phrase "Ur-Quan Masters" in the original game justifies a trademark would fail because it hasn't been defended in the decades that UQM has been around.  And attempting to register 'Ur-Quan Masters" out from underneath the community project is going to have a host of very negative PR consequences.

Frogboy, if you're listening, please rein in your IP lawyer.

EDIT:  I just sent an email to the USPTO examiner, to make sure that they are aware of this project and how long it has been around.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2018, 01:17:29 am by Elestan » Logged
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Re: Stardock Highest Bidder on Star Control Trademark
« Reply #98 on: February 28, 2018, 03:13:27 am »

Bear in mind, I'm around and willing to talk.

I just don't want to be personally attacked. 

So if you have questions I can answer them to the best of my ability.  Just bear in mind I'm not a lawyer.
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Re: Stardock Highest Bidder on Star Control Trademark
« Reply #99 on: February 28, 2018, 04:11:06 am »

Bear in mind, I'm around and willing to talk.

I just don't want to be personally attacked. 

So if you have questions I can answer them to the best of my ability.  Just bear in mind I'm not a lawyer.

That's completely fair.  I think the most relevant question to this community is to say what your intentions are with respect to trademarking "The Ur-Quan Masters".  The best explanation I can come up with is a zealous IP lawyer trying to grab every possible advantage for a potential legal fight.  But he's picking a fight with your potential customers here, and I don't see much benefit in doing it.
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Re: Stardock Highest Bidder on Star Control Trademark
« Reply #100 on: February 28, 2018, 04:20:33 am »

Off-topic, but...

Also, is the Ultima trademark owner currently trying to build something  new under the Ultima trademark?
As far as I can tell, Ultima Online is still available for purchase from EA. Does that count?
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Re: Stardock Highest Bidder on Star Control Trademark
« Reply #101 on: February 28, 2018, 05:03:34 am »

Off-topic, but...

Also, is the Ultima trademark owner currently trying to build something  new under the Ultima trademark?
As far as I can tell, Ultima Online is still available for purchase from EA. Does that count?

Good question.

So, the concern is the future of the UQM.  Our long-term goal is for the UQM community to be set up as an independent, open-source destination for creating stories without interference.  If that's for Star Control, great.  If it's for Ghosts of the Precursors, that's fine too.  What we don't want is a scenario where Star Control is legally blocked by an external trademark source enforcing their rights.

I am here.  If Stardock does something bad, there's someone you can yell at. Smiley

My opinion is that open-source modding is the future.  I don't mean tomorrow or next year.  But in a few years, modding as we know it today will be a much bigger deal.  And open-source is the future of that. 

We want a destination to release the Star Control III source code (for example).  We want to make source code for parts of Star Control: Origins.

Now, that might sound like lip service but we already do this with our software today and have for 17 years: http://www.wincustomize.com.  So we're not talking about the importance of independent communities as a theory but we've been walking the walk for 17 years.
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Re: Stardock Highest Bidder on Star Control Trademark
« Reply #102 on: February 28, 2018, 05:05:30 am »

BTW, just to add more for that WinCustomize link, it is now the primary resource for all of Stardock's customization competitors.  Some of Stardock's competitors on the software side now use that site as their primary support community and help moderate it.
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Re: Stardock Highest Bidder on Star Control Trademark
« Reply #103 on: February 28, 2018, 05:31:49 am »

The UQM never needed anyone to protect us from "an external trademark source enforcing their rights".

The whole reason it's called the Ur Quan Masters is because an external trademark source wouldn't let this community call it Star Control 2.

Now YOU'RE the external trademark source.

Do you mean to tell us you're going to stop enforcing the Star Control trademark against this community, and we can now call it Star Control 2?
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Re: Stardock Highest Bidder on Star Control Trademark
« Reply #104 on: February 28, 2018, 05:36:57 am »

The UQM never needed anyone to protect us from "an external trademark source enforcing their rights".

The whole reason it's called the Ur Quan Masters is because an external trademark source wouldn't let this community call it Star Control 2.

Now YOU'RE the external trademark source.

Do you mean to tell us you're going to stop enforcing the Star Control trademark against this community, and we can now call it Star Control 2?

You've been posting on this community for what? a week? 

As you probably know,  Paul and Fred also filed for a trademark.  Do you have the same concern with them? If not, why not?
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