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News: Paul Reiche and Fred Ford want to continue the story they started when they created Star Control II — The Ur-Quan Masters. «Happy days and jubilation!» «But wait!» «There is something wrong here... something which makes my sheath retract and my talons ooze.» «Please, Captain, we need your help!»

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1  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: September 26, 2018, 11:15:20 pm
The current counts of the current amended claim do not question the ownership of the Star Control 1 and 2 copyrights.  (Strictly trademark related issues and copyright infringement relating to Star Control 3 specific elements.)  Hence, this part isn't applicable in the slightest.  This is a protective measure so the publisher didn't have to spend money settle any disputes that show up with someone contesting ownership of the copyrighted material.  Back in the 80's it was a bit of the wild west when it came to submitting games to publishers and there were a few cases of people in one region of the world submitting material to a publisher in a different region of the world, when they did not have the full rights to do so.  This is what this clause was for.

Also, with written documentation acknowledging ownership from two previous holders of the contract, copyright filings to detail the exact ownership of copyrights for Star Control 2, and multiple parties over the years attesting to the ownership...  This clause is just a historical footnote for the time period the contract was written.
2  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Regarding 'Star Control: Origins' and Stardock on: September 23, 2018, 07:53:16 pm
This is something I feared from the beginning with Stardock's filing for "The Ur-Quan Masters" trademark over half a year ago.  And here we are...
3  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: August 24, 2018, 09:24:03 pm
Although you probably didn't mean it that way (as you were probably referring to SC2's story and not the gameplay), it sounds like "forget about the past, go with the current trends on the market". Except that it's exactly what most companies already do and have always done. While there is currently a resurgence of "retro" games, there are still too few games that really play like the masterpieces of the 80s and the early 90s. So I think that there's a lot to learn from the past - specifically how that lightning in a bottle was caught in the first place by so many different game developers of that era. Smiley

I agree there's a lot to learn form the past.  And I'd push the analogy further to say it's still the same storm as the past, but it's no longer over the same area any more.  Hence, you need to move on to capture the lightning from that storm.  Take the lessons of the past, abandon the present familiar, and explore the unknown future.

On the other hand, if they want to associate games with Star Control, they do need our permission.

And this is the crux of the issue entirely here.  To what degree of association is Stardock wanting to permit and what degree of association is permitted by law.  There's a difference here.

Should Ghosts of the Precursors be allowed to be branded, advertised, and title it on the OUTSIDE as a "Star Control" game in the market in a manner to indicate the source of the product without Stardock's permission?  No.  That would be a textbook trademark infringement.  Putting the "Star Control" trademark upon the product is a no go.  That's actually what a lot of trademark cases end up being, comparison of trademarks between companies on their products and if the similarities between caused confusion.  See the Adidas America v. Payless Shoesource for an example of trademark infringement:

Can Paul and Fred refer to, compare against, and talk about "Star Control" term in a factual, non-trademark manner, a manner that does not use the trademarked term to indicate another product's source?  Yes.  By trademark law you are allowed to refer to another party's trademarks so long as they are not explicitly used as trademarks, source indication, upon your own products.  You are allowed to compare against even a direct competitor, this happens all the time with store brands putting the other trademarked competitor terms right in their labeling literally saying "Compare us to brand X!"  When it comes to terms within creative works and titles of creative works, you are allowed to talk about the trademarked terms and refer to the them in a non-trademark manner, hence not using it as a source indicator for the work.  Anything preventing that would be a First Amendment violation as there would be a federal mechanism limiting freedom of expression, a point that has created a lot of fair use doctrines used with trademark law.

Hence, Paul and Fred can say, "Ghost of the Precursors will be its own, separate continuation of the story from "Star Control 2 -- The Ur-Quan Masters", the game we worked on in the past."  They are allowed to refer to  the "Star Control" term as it is the title of their copyrighted work.  Also there's some possible literature that states if a party was allowed at one point to use the trademark upon a product, they cannot technically infringe upon that trademark in the future for that past product.  (Admittedly it seems more geared towards physical products, but it could be argued.)  They would NOT be representing their new game as a "Star Control" game, hence not using the term as a trademark to indicate source of another product.  Finally, since Paul and Fred own the copyrights to Star Control 2, they are granted protections by law to prepare derivative works based on those copyrights.

So from my perspective, Paul and Fred don't need Stardock's permission to do what they were already doing...  making Ghosts of the Precursors as a separate continuation of the story line from their previous game.
4  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: August 24, 2018, 05:37:46 pm
Ultimately, it's been Stardock's approach to all this that's soured my opinion the most.

I originally (Pre-October 2017) very interested on how Stardock would roll with the "Star Control" name.  Prequel-ish Reboot concept meant a good fresh start overall.  Stardock has talent in many areas and given the general concept and idea for the structure of the game, they should be able to fill it with their own unique creations and establish them own take of it all.  Stardock maintains a very loyal fan base that really want Stardock styled games.  So, I was willing to see what they would do with it all and what they would create.  Then, the Ur-Quan Masters trademark filing appeared...  And the decline started... and here we are.

Stardock does NOT need the old copyrights and it does NOT need to trademark anything from the old content.  Fred and Paul do NOT need the "Star Control" trademark.  Trademark fair use doctrines, the Rogers Test, the Eight Sleekcraft factors, and numerous court cases that spawned the former support this.  Despite what Stardock may file to trademark, the trademark cannot impede freedom of expression within copyrighted works, as much as use of terms within a copyrighted mostly is never seen as causing trademark confusion/infringement.

Here's the personal opinion part on why Stardock should move on, and just rock their own thing free from originals:  Anything Stardock does in relation and association with the content from Star Control 1 and Star Control 2, without the blessing of Fred and Paul, is going to feel like fan fiction.  Maybe good fan fiction, but still...  It's going to exist in a weird quasi-state that won't feel full and proper.  We all know what happened with the "third-that-shall-not-be-mentioned", despite efforts from a company that made some fun games.  (Still have a special spot for Superhero League of Hoboken.)  So, Stardock should just break free from the past, run with its own creations, and bring it up to their own standards free from the shadows of the past.  You aren't going to catch lightning in a bottle again, if you are standing where the storm has moved on from...  You have to go where the storm is for the chance to catch that lightning again.  Stardock needs to be innovative to thrive in this market these days, and it seems like a needless limitation to hold itself to standards of the past that aren't their theirs to hold themselves to.  My advice to Stardock is to break free and walk your own path as you have before...  No one will fault for it and many will praise you for doing so, and you'll be able to dedicate your resources towards greater things and far more fun things.
5  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: August 14, 2018, 10:40:52 pm
When I get annoyed with you Lak, you then post something like this that reminds me why I enjoy reading what you write because you really do have a keen mind whose writing I enjoy.  There are some people here, even people on "the other side" I can tell I'd get along with in real life...

A very fair answer.  I definitely understand the desire to answer to the communities you feel a part of.  I can't very well fault you for that, as I've been in similar situations myself.  At this point there's one bit of advice I'd offer to you and anyone else:  I've always found myself in environments where I am often surrounded by intelligent and passionate people.  I try to keep an even attitude about things, especially after all the strangeness in my existence so far.  So, I'm often in the objective, outside observers point of view.   (Passion does strike me hard at times, too, but I often TRY to hold it back until I'm sure it is warranted.  I also implement a 24 hour policy before I open an e-mail client after an incident due to past experiences, too.  It's amazing what a five page nasty-gram can do when you send it to the right person...  But not something I'd recommend.)  

From my observations and experiences, passion is a force.  But... A scalar force.  In itself, it has no direction.  The wit and mind of an individual is what gives that scalar a direction and it becomes a powerful vector.  But, even best initial directions can eventually drift from the original target.  That "extra" significant digit after the decimal often turns out to be a very important when the distance is long enough.  And your effective field of view shrinks quickly as passion drives you forward faster and faster.  We are human beings, so we all have limitations at what we can practically perceive.  So, it is often a good thing that even with the clearest roads ahead of you to pull over, get out of the vehicle, unfold the map on the hood, and ask yourself, "Where the hell am I really?"

I've had to do it many, many times.  Sometimes AFTER I went through a few brick walls.  There's nothing wrong with a little course reevaluation.  And there's no shame in U-turning back to pick up that off-ramp you should have taken.
6  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: August 14, 2018, 06:43:38 pm
Nice Internet lawyering, Lak. 
About all I can do, really.  I'm not any kind of official lawyer, so I can't walk into a court room as one.  But, the information is still out there.  And I have yet to find anything that aligns with Stardock's position that has ended favorably for that position.

What attracted my attention to this thread was the argument that Stardock was "stealing" or "copying" something from Star Control II. 

We are still waiting for evidence to back up that claim.  It's a very serious allegation.

I just find it strange that credence and effort is placed upon random opinions from random people on the Internet all places, in a niche subject forum.  It might be due to being from a generation that used card catalogs significantly, but there's only so much merit I'll give anything on the internet.  I watched the internet grow up, despite how it might put on a business suit and act official these days...  I remember when it was the class clown with pencils up its nose trying to get everyone's attention. 

So, simply stated:  You are a CEO of a multi-million dollar game company, a feat most people will never accomplish.  Why even justify what you believe to be false statement with a response that takes up your time and effort?  Especially to some random folks on a small internet forum?  Come on, sir.  I'm sure you'd have more fun drumming up press for your big release in a month and endearing yourself to the gaming media with promos and SC:O swag.  They love that stuff from what I hear.

At least CmdrShp posted his opinion.  I noticed you didn't correct him, Lak or perhaps didn't read it.   Why not state, publicly, whether you think copyright now covers consumer confusion and relationships. 

I am quite certain that all parties would appreciate seeing any examples of actual copyright infringement. We would never want to copy someone else's work, even unintentionally and have taken effort to make sure our expressions of the Star Control aliens are our own.

Okay.  From what I've read up on copyright and have seen demonstrated...  Copyright doesn't immediately concern itself with consumer confusion and relations, but it can be an indirect factor in some decisions.  Copyright mainly concerns itself with is the control and management of the expression of a work:  Reproduction, distribution, derivation, and presentation.  When it comes to the specifics of derivation and whether or not something is derivative, that is usually put up to a court decision.  Individually the attributes that comprise a work by themselves in another work typically does not indicate derivation.  But the collection of attributes together in a work when compared to another collection of attributes together in a work, that's when determining derivation becomes important and works can be seen as derivative or not.

The situation surrounding the decision is similar to the Ship of Theseus thought experiment ( ).  Individually, the individual planks of the ship don't mean much of anything.  But, let's say you are building a new ship and pull individually planks from an existing ship to use with planks you have newly crafted.  (Save time, like the style, or maybe that plank is just cool looking, etc...)  The question in this situation is "How many planks can you use from the existing ship with your new ship before the new ship is considered directly derived from the existing ship?"  If it's just a few planks that are not very visible, most people would conclude: No.  But, as more and more planks from the existing ship are used in very visible areas, people start to lean closer and closer to "Yes."  This especially starts to shift when unique aspects upon the planks are visible or the planks are arranged in similar positions upon the new ship.

Two court cases Nichols v. Universal Pictures Corp: and  Anderson v. Stallone: show cases that were won or loss over how substantial the differences or similarities were or were not.

The overall non-specific concepts are not subject to copyright protection.  The trouble happens when the attributes get more and more specific, and difference between the collection of attributes gets less and less.  Ultimately, it's up to a court decision to determine if the how substantial the elements are different or similar.  But Stardock has not put themselves in the best position when it comes to those determinations.  Given history, intent, use of unique terms, visual similarities, back story elements, etc...  Even a few of these by themselves would not be a problem, but together it doesn't make it an easy case to rule that it is all "Not Derivative."

From my perspective, Stardock is toeing the foul line really close on its approach to throwing bowling balls down the lane.  The buzzer may have not gone off yet, but people are paying very close attention now.  There's plenty of bigger more litigious companies that wouldn't dare to get that close.
7  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: August 14, 2018, 03:16:44 pm
Trademarks are about association. Copyrights are about copying.

We expect players to assume that the Arilou species is related to the Arilou species in SC2. That’s trademark. No ifs or buts.

More correctly...  Trademark is about how the mark is associated with the SOURCE and ORIGIN of the product it is ON, NOT the product itself.  The goodwll asscoiated with the mark is directed towards the source and the quality and ideas about the SOURCE, NOT the actualy product or service.  Trademarks actually have very little to deal with actual products and services themselves apart from classification of what the mark will exist upon.  If fact, the LESS the mark is associated with the aspects of the individual products and service the stronger it is considered.  In fact with the "Descriptive Marks" category, the terms have to develop secondary meanings that associate with the SOURCE of the product that are distrinct enough from the what the term means primarily to receive trademark protections.

Trademark strength fact sheet from the INTA:

So a correct statement would be:  Trademarks are about the association of the mark with the source/origin of the product.  Copyrights are about managing the creative expression.  That's what the USPTO itself says multiple times in its various literature.

And how Stardock has been proposing how to use trademarks has been struck down before and spawned various tests to reaffirm that trademarks are ONLY for branding and things OUTSIDE the product itself.  See the Functionality Doctrine (trademarks CANNOT protect the functional/value adding elements of the product) and the Rogers Test (trademarks CANNOT limit freedom of expression within a creative work).

Functionality from the USPTO's Trademark Manual of Examination:

Rogers Test in context of Video Games from he INTA: 

For the curious, here's the general info about Trademarks from the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  Note how they emphasize the fact the trademarks are the brandin/labels OUTSIDE and ON a product or service:
8  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: August 11, 2018, 12:18:56 pm
I wouldn't know how a jury or a court will think of it but I believe that the aliens (name & designs) are connected to the Star Control "brand", so to speak, but they are also connected to the UQM "brand".

There's no official connection when it comes to federal law.  There's nothng under the "Star Control" mark's federal registration that shows any kind of connection.  Anything of that nature is Stardock's horrific portrayl of how federal trademark law works.  The tradeamark registration simply covers the mark itself... nothing more.

My opinion is both Stardock and P&F should be able to have the right to their respective versions.

Stardock is bending over backwards to redesign them, so why not let them?

Copyright law.  And Stardock isn't bending backwards over to redesign them... they're just trying to see how close they can get in an attempt to subvert the law.  If they had any honest intent to avoid issues...  They WOULD NOT be using the same names and use all the major atttributes in their designs.  They have shown the ability to design their own... why design them so closely to the original concepts and have them so possibly derivative?

The only trouble I can foresee is that the trademarks would force P&F to not be able to use the alien names in promotions or advertising if they decide to not license them from Stardock.

Paul and Fred DO NOT have to license anything from Stardock.  Again, another misrepresentation of the law from Stardock.  Stardock CANNOT use their supposed trademark filings as a means of limitation of freedom of expression.  Period.  That would be a First Amendment violation.  As per the Rogers Test.  The aliens are creatively significant to their work.  Even if the marks get past the trademark office, they only protect the labeling OUTSIDE and ON a product not the discussion of what COMPROMISES and is IN the product itself.

Again, Stardock is completely and absolutely wrong in their shown demonstration of the trademark law.  They are basically filing a mass of frivilous claims to financially fatigue their opponent.  They are blatantly abusing trademark law in a twisted attempt to override copyright law.

I would love for P&F to find a loophole and "stick it to the man" as it were. Something that they've been good at since they've started.

They don't need to find a loophole.  They are protected by the laws normally.  Stardock is trying to twist it.

I've speculated that it would be ironic if they would make their sequel in the SCO engine as a paid mod on Steam. Kind of a way to just shove it right up Stardock's tail-pipe in plain sight.
Full price, bingo-bango, UQM2 in SCO. It would be friggin' hilarious.

I know it would never happen, but the thought of it tickles me.

Why would they ever need to use Stardock's product to make their own?  That's not shoving up Stardock's tail-pipe...  That would be near capitulation and exactly what Stardock wanted in the first place apart from complete control.

DO NOT believe Stardock's use of law...  They are WRONG.
9  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Making a video to help spread the word about the Frungy Fund and Stardocks greed on: July 27, 2018, 03:01:06 pm
There's a bunch of strangeness with this case overall, but read the final amendent claim from Stardock and the amended counter-claim from Fred and Paul.  (Key thing that is twisted from many Stardock sources, Stardock filed legally first.)

Stardock mispresents the scope and function of trademark ridiculously, often running in stark contrast to the United States Patent and Trademark Office's presentation of them, the Lanham Act itself, and the Trademark Manual of Examination Procedure.  You can't have a sequel to a trademark...  Because a trademark does NOT denote any kind of content at all.  Period.  It's a mark used in trademark to denote the source/origin of a product... Nothing to do with the product itself.  In fact, direct association of the mark with aspects of the product it is on often weakens the mark greatly.  And Fred and Paul DO NOT need anything from Stardock to make their game, despite Stardock waving the "Star Control" mark around.  Ghost of the Precursors before this lawsuit could have been made without issue, so long as the product was NOT BRANDED with the Star Control mark.  You can talk about a Trademark, reference it, and do many other non-trademark uses...  You just can't use it to mispresent where your goods and services come from by using it as a brand/mark upon your products and services.  Companies talk about each other's trademarks all the time and even have advertising on the product to directly challenge the other trademarked term.  It's pretty common place.  Just check out the store brand labels.

Also, trademark cannot limit freedom of expression.  That would be a first amendment violation as a federal law would prevent freedom of expression.  Given how Stardock has been trademarking the alien races from Star Control 2...  which they have NOT even done for their own races from Galactic Civilizations despite how much power of protection they claim trademark is...   Limitation of expression seems to be their angle with the mass filing of these trademarks.  It is made even more apparent when the trademarks for "Crimson Corporation" and "Fwiffo" were filed by Stardock a few days AFTER Fred and Paul posted their GoFundMe page that used those two unique terms in the literature.  This shows intent.  Fwiffo is a copyrighted character name used within the product and Crimson Corporation is another unique name used within the product...  Why file for them immediately after your opponent puts them on a legal defense fund raiser page and not before with the rest?  These terms aren't new, the product has existed for 25+ years, so all the names have been known...  Why after the GoFundMe page?  Limitation of expression, in direct opposition of what years of law and court precedence that exists to prevent trademark from doing so.  Stardock seeks to misuse trademark to silence opposition.

These trademarks that Stardock keeps filing for have NEVER been used as trademarks...  Period.  Accolade never used them.  Atari never used them.  They're not even common law trademarks.  And if ANYONE has the rights to claim them as even common law trademarks... It's the UQM Project, not Stardock.  They were never transferred to Stardock, as the bankruptcy sale manifest listed NONE of them.  Trademarks have to be explicitly transferred, even common law ones...  Especially common law ones.

And the counts Stardock's amendent claim have huge holes in them.  Going over the laws and looking at other cases that have used those laws successfully...  There's a night and day difference.  The laws barely at best seem applicable, but further examination... it falls apart.  Fred and Paul's use of the "Star Control" mark can easily be seem as nominative use and they have yet to use that mark in the context of an actual trademark.  Remember, Star Control 2 --  The Ur-Quan Masters is the full name of their copyrighted work.  So... Unless they are specifically branding a product with the mark... it's not being used as a trademark.

Check at the end of the wiki page for laws and examples of trademark material:

After looking the Likelihood of Confusion factors, the Rogers Test, Trademark Fair Use, Functionality Doctrine, and Trademark Strengths...  Stardock's claims disintergrate.  And the copyright infringment claim for Star Control 3 from Stardock?  Fred and Paul had an agreement with Atari for the distribution... that Stardock assumed as part of their purchase of Atari's part of the Star Control 3 rights.  Hence, I question if that whole claim can be seen as prejury.  So, how can they violate copyright for something that had an agreement for?

There's a lot that Stardock has done to betray their own narrative, even their final amended claim itself runs directly counter to their FAQ.  Ultimately, they could have literally done nothing and been better off.  Focus on their game, let Fred and Paul do whatever they wanted.  Because no one was really challenging who owned the Star Control mark and Stardock has a game coming out that would establish the mark as indicative of Stardock as the source, Star Control: Origins.  Stardock has self-harmed themselves in far more elaborate ways than Fred and Paul even could have ever done with referencing the "Star Control" nominatively in talking about their work Star Control 2 -- The Ur-Quan Masters.

But, Stardock WANTS the whole thing regardless of what laws exist.  They are not right...  But they are trying to financially fatigue their opponent into capitulation.  It's a tactic they've used before.  It's why they keep pushing themselves so strongly and blatantly, shock and awe.  It's why their "settlement" offer was so one sided.  They fully expected their opponent to roll over after such a strong initial stance.  Stardock tried to bully over their opponent.  It hasn't worked and they are scrambling for any other option as evidence rises to show how wrong they are.  They had a limited time window for such a tactic to work, and it's past that point.  As more scrutinity looks at their case and behavior overall... it starts to grow more and more obvious the problems in their position.

I wasn't so strongly against Stardock... I was very interested in what Stardock would do with the title...   Then, they quietly filed for "The Ur-Quan Masters" mark and every alarm bell went off in my mind and many people started to look at Stardock closely.  And many found fault after as they continued looking and Stardock's behavior started to get stranger and stranger.  Now... Here we are.
10  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: July 23, 2018, 11:30:31 pm
I've seen lists that put Paul Reiche at an estimated net worth of 19 mil.  While Brad Wardell's is estimated 1.9 million.  Both as of 2018.

Sigh...  Does it really matter?  This just seems like a distraction from the important details of the situation.  Very similar to one of those useless details they throw into word problems or diversion topics that many political folks use.  It's a very superficial metric that simple does not matter in this situation.
11  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Can I use a different coding platform under the UQM2 Name on: July 16, 2018, 05:09:23 pm
Checking around the licensing information on the UQM Wiki Page:

The source code is released under the GNU General Public License:
So if you use any code directly from the UQM source, that source code must be made publicly available and it cannot become part of a proprietary code base.  (Less you keep the proprietary components in separate compiled libraries.)

The content for the UQM is released under a Creative Commons 2.5  Attribution, Non-Commerical, Share Alike license:
So anything created based on the content has to be shared under the same license as the source material, attribution is given, and the content is use for non-commercial purposes.

Hence you can create your own remix of stuff so long as the remix or extension is licensed the same as the source materials used.  Now, none of these cover the titles of the works, which are not part of these licenses as these licenses are working upon a copyright law foundation.  Copyright law only covers the fixed representation of a work. 

Protection of titles fall into trademark territory.  As with what many fan projects have done before, just use a title that can't deemed as having a "likelihood of confusion" against another mark.  That's all you have to do.  It avoids so much right there.  If you don't, once the current legal battle is settled, there will be a company with the legal grounds to demand an injunction from the courts and halt use of conflicting, similar titles.  And willingly branding a product under that mark can be seen as intent to infringe and deceive, which does not help anyone's case.  This is would be lining up for a textbook trademark infringement:   And probably a summary judgement would be requested (and probably granted), hence it would never go to trial.  Trademarks are ruled primarily by first to file basis unless they are challenged with a prior use before the filing date.

Them's the breaks.
12  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: My take on Stardock on: July 16, 2018, 04:27:13 pm
It'd be best just to let Star Control: Origins fly on its own merits.  There's no need to review bomb or boycott it.  That way, whatever happens with the reviews and sales of Star Control: Origins is its own doing, then it could said to have done good or bad without significant influence outside of Stardock's efforts.  If you don't care too much for Stardock or Star Control: Origins, just don't mention them anymore.  Bad press is still press at the end of the day and gets people aware of the product and company.  No press is far more damaging to a company of Stardock's size, since if no one is talking about your game, good or bad, no one knows your game is around to even buy it.

Just pretend it doesn't exist...  (Many of us have done it to many 3rd installments before...)  And focus on other things.
13  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: My take on Stardock on: July 12, 2018, 05:16:39 pm
At this point Stardock is just paying lawyers to throw as much stuff as possible and see what even remotely sticks.  Again, Stardock is demonstrating a provably wrong understanding of trademark law.  There's no evidence that "Precursors" has was ever used as a trademark, even a common law one.  How something within the product that's never beened used as an indicator of source, that's actually a fairly generic term (because everyone seems to use the term precursors for scifi stuff) can be a trademark is ridiculous.  And that's key thing, they'd have to demonstrate so much just for it to even be recognized as a common law trademark:  What is it?  Where was it used?  Has it been used consistently?  Do they have properly formed secondary meanings?  Do they properly indicate a source of origin for a product?  And has it even survived the transfership of ownership, twice?  To properly transfer even a common law trademark you need actual written notification of the transfer of ownership of that mark and what it is.  Very similar to how the "Star Control" trademark was transferred.  Yet, there's NOTHING for any of these "common law trademarks" that Stardock keeps claiming.

This is desperation on Stardock's part and they are going directly counter to their narrative of "Not stopping Paul and Freed from making their game".  And here's the thing, "Precursors" and "Ghosts of the Precursors" can exist at the same time.  The USPTO often recognizes the different between a single work and a phrase trademark, and they can indicate separate sources.

As for "Remnants of the Precursors" and "Ghost of the Precursors", that's mostly up to the USPTO at first.  But, so long as both groups are cool with it...  There shouldn't be any real issue with both marks co-existing at the same time as long establish their origins properly.  The "Likelihood of Confusion" concept is interesting at times, but given the software game market has some interesting quirks when it comes to how confused people can actually get, there should be room for both to exist.
14  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: My take on Stardock on: July 03, 2018, 05:15:51 pm
This whole trademark spree has gone from "a bit much" to "absolutely ridiculous" at this point.  Filing for a new "Star Control" trademark, I could get behind for Stardock.  They are using it to brand products and that new filing would be the protection needed in case the old Accolade "Star Control" filing suffers cancellation.  That's protecting yourself.  Even if they didn't file the lawsuit, it would be a wise move just to refresh your protections with an updated filing with specimens of  use on your recent goods and services.  Especially given the questionable nature that Atari renewed the trademark with that one-shot flash game.  (Technically it was a specimen of use, but... Really?)

But, filing for terms that were never used as trademarks by either Accolade or Atari (or are terms deep within a creative work... that you don't own), and presenting a wayward interpretation of the scope of trademark that goes against every bit of material on the USPTO reference material (and even the very act you are suing with)...  Is absolutely insane at this point.  I've yet to find a trademark infringement case that quite lines up with how this one has proceeded.  Even looking at the laws cited by the counts listed on Stardock's amended claim...  They don't seem remotely designed to be used like this and many have exemptions that directly protect against this kind of use. 

The more I dig, the more I find, the more distant Stardock's position seems from... well...  how everyone else treats trademark.  You'd think if this was the way such worked, far more litigious and larger companies would have tried it by now and succeeded.  Even Games Workshop has not had that much success lately with smacking people around for use of the term "Space Marine".
15  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: My take on Stardock on: July 03, 2018, 05:03:50 am
And on yet another topic, I note that Stardock has filed for a trademark on Fwiffo.

Wow...  And there's one for the Crimson Corporation, too!  That's going well into trademark trolling territory now.  These are terms well within the copyrighted works and have never been remotely used as anything on the products or for branding... ever...  Not by Accolade, Atari, or even Stardock.

In fact... These are two unique terms used in the recent GoFundMe Fundraiser description page!  This is ill intent trademark trolling now and possibly an attempt to use trademark for the purposes of censorship.  (Which has been protected against by legal precedence as that would allow a federal law to threaten the First Amendment.)  I can't figure out any other reason given the timing and how ultimately unenforceable such marks would be... but how much defending against would cost.
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