World of IP Round Up: August 2018 | Game Over!

Mamma mia!

World of IP Round Up: August

This month’s World of IP round-up takes a distinctly nostalgic tone, with coverage of Nintendo’s efforts against trade mark and copyright infringement, and a spotlight on what could have been for the Toys R’ Us brand. We also look at the hullabaloo surrounding the dispute over “Aloha Poke” in the US.

In addition to all of this, we have a round up of all of the headlines from the web surrounding IP and brands around the world. So, without further ado…

Game Over! for Emulation and Fan Game websites, after Nintendo Legal Claims

In August, Nintendo have tightened their grip on their IP, by issuing a trade mark and copyright claim against two sets of fan-sites.

The first of these sites relates to the distribution of software which allowed fans to create their own Pokémon fan games.

In the past Nintendo have been quick to address the release of fan games (e.g. such as “AM2R” and “Pokémon Uranium“, amongst others) through legal channels. Projects such as these are put together by fans, ostensibly to show reverence for series’ they love – and are distributed to the population for free online.

The enthusiasm within the fan base means that such projects emerge frequently, and (when complete) garner a significant audience of players – and the attention of Nintendo’s legal department..

In the case of “AM2R” this game was finished shortly before an official remake was released (which would have been in development for some time) and, as such, represented a clear and direct competitor to Nintendo’s own products. In other cases, these are original remixes of a popular format, which include IP protected characters and brand elements.

It remains a point of contention whether games businesses such as Nintendo should protect its IP so vigorously and act so punitively towards its most passionate fans (notably, Sega embraced the creators of Sonic fan games, hiring them for a recent official release “Sonic Mania” – which was widely praised by fans and critics alike).

This month however, Nintendo went one step further than previous – issuing a copyright claim against a website hosting an 11-year old development kit for creating fan-made Pokémon games. Therefore addressing the source of these fan games, rather than fan games themselves that had become significantly damaging to them on an ad-hoc basis.

Eurogamer provide an overview of the story here.

The second of these websites to receive legal attention from Nintendo concerned the provision of emulators and “ROMs” for old Nintendo hardware and games.

For those not familiar with emulation, an emulator allows a user to run console hardware on a PC – and play games which are accessed in the form of computer files called ROMs (which stands for “read-only memory”).

Whilst this activity is not necessary illicit (e.g. for those who already own a game, it is not problematic to play it through emulation) – for the most part, emulation has been viewed as a means for users to access and play games without paying the creators.

Nintendo take a dim view of this activity, as whilst many of the the historic games from are unavailable to purchase legitimately from the company today – many are. Defenders of the practice of emulation state that it is a way for historic games to be saved for generations to come – and criticise enforcement as there are no legitimate way for many of these works to be accessed otherwise.

In this escalation of their legal position against emulation – Nintendo brought a trade mark claim against Mathias Designs L.L.C. alleged owner and operator of two separate emulation sites “LoveROMS” and “LoveRETRO” – whom they alleged hosted and distributed Nintendo’s IP. Crucially, the defendants had been seen to be profiting from this site, by running ads on the site and receiving donations for a number of years.

This particular case suggest that Nintendo are not stopping there, seeking a £100,000,000 in damages and perhaps more tellingly that the Defendants “identify every one of [their suppliers and sources of unauthorised copies of Nintendo’s copyrighted works.”

This would suggest that this is simply “level 1” of their campaign and Nintendo will continue to go to great lengths to shut down emulation across the board.

Thomson Reuters Legal Solutions Blog has a brilliant write up of this, which is the source of some of the above information.

Chicago company “Poke” the bear with attempted enforcement of “Aloha Poke” trade mark in Hawaii

Chicago-based Aloha Poke Co. caused a stir in (typically relaxed) Hawaii when they attempted to enforce their registered trade mark on the island.

Poke is a Hawaii culinary staple, consisting of an appetiser primarily comprised of raw fish. Aloha (of course) is the common greeting given on the island, which whilst used in place of “hello” and “goodbye” has deeper cultural significance to Hawaiians.

So when island restaurant owners had received cease and desist letters from Aloha Poke Co. in relation to their alleged infringement of their trade mark – they were not happy.

Simply put, Aloha Poke as a trade mark for restaurant services might be distinct in mainland USA – but not so on the island from which the food and term comes from.

Furthermore, the feeling that a business was attempting to monopolise the use of the world Aloha (as well as poke) raised complaints of cultural appropriation – and offence particularly around the prohibited use of a spiritual word such as Aloha.

There has been significant backlash which has been addressed by the owner of Aloha Poke by way of reply:

“What we have done is attempted to stop trade mark infringements in the restaurant industry from using the trademark Aloha Poke without permission. We know that this misinformation has caused a considerable amount of anger and offense among those who care very passionately about their Hawaiian culture. We want to say to them directly how deeply sorry we are that this issues has been so triggering.”

Despite this admission, the company continues to assert its ownership of the trade mark in Hawaii, despite mounting protests.

Hawaii News Now provide an overview of the initial spate of cease and desist letters.

Hawaii News follow up with the statement from the CEO of Aloha Poke Co.

Chicago Sun Times follow finally with the reaction back on the mainland as protests mount.

Toys R’ Us – The Brand that Might Have Been

Finally, this month, a viral article on DesignTAXI provided an insight into what might have been for Toys R’ Us’ brand. The company had instructed creative consultancy Lippencott, to look at how it’s brand might be rejuvenated, prior to its insolvency.

The vision presented by Lippencott took familiar and sadly neglected assets and rejuvenated them – painting a picture of Toys R’ Us as a legacy brand that could go toe-to-toe in the contemporary market place.

This was sadly, however, not the case – and Lippencott’s proposal remains a proof of concept.

What this does demonstrate however, is that old and seemingly derelict brands can be revived and in theory thrive. For those looking at Toys R’ Us in administration, this may offer some incentive to purchase the assets – as evidence suggests that there is plenty of life in the brand should the business be reconfigured.

Here DesignTAXI present Lippencott’s work, which has disappeared from their own website for the time being.

World of IP Round Up: The Best of the Rest


CEO of top semiconductor company talks reducing effects of intellectual property tariffs |

Vega+ to be stripped of Sinclair brand |

Learning From Apple v Samsung – Intellectual Property – United States |

Apple Just Lost a $145 Million Infringement Verdict to a Canadian Patent Troll |

Nintendo Applies For Endless Ocean Trademark In Japan, Could This Wii Title Resurface From The Deep? |

Huawei cites IP track record in response to SolarEdge complaint |

“Sharp seeks rebirth as Apple-style tech brand” |

The Importance of the Intellectual Property in the Gaming Industry |

Chrome Timeline Extension Removed from Web Store over Trademark Infringement |

Time to party like it’s 2005! Palm is coming back! |

Apple Files for the ‘FoundationDB’ Trademark |

Nikon Re-Registers Nikonos Trademark |

Daimler USPTO Filing Implies Autonomous Driving Tech With AI in the Works |

Until Dawn Devs Trademark “Shattered State,” May Not Be a PS4 Exclusive | Apple patent hints at non-invasive glucose monitoring tech for Apple Watch |


How Intellectual Property Informs Investment in a Private Equity Transaction |

As Kit Kat ruling shows, intellectual property is big business |

Report: Global Physical Intellectual Property Market 2018 |

Trademarks and Social Media: What startups should know! |

Healthcare Industry Increasingly Using Trade Secret Litigation to Protect Intellectual Property Rights |

The trademark strategies behind Switzerland’s most valuable brands |

Raytheon CEO: Why Your Own Employees Could Be Your Greatest Threat |

Best Practices For Developing, Managing And Protecting Your Company’s Intellectual Property | Dutch Study Shows Importance of Business Innovation to Defeating Infringement |

SpongeBob and the ‘oh, please!’ standard of trademark foolishness |

Trademark bullies? Many big colleges fiercely protect brands |


Kirin Ramen gets new name amid trademark battle with beer giant |

Inside the Fight to Trademark the Shape of Candy in America |

Scotch whisky wins trademark in South Africa |

“Chinese “Super Trademarks”: A Creative Strategy for Overseas IP Protection” |

[USA] Intellectual Property The Hard Way |

Cheaper Luxury Gets Chinese Excited |

Adidas Fails to Prevent Taiwanese Company from Registering ‘Similar’ Trademark in Singapore |

[US} Elected official withdraws trademark filing for blogger’s site critical of her |

Saudi Arabian intellectual property authority launches online facility |

Economic Crimes Against Japanese Corporations Frequently Target Intellectual Property |

China Trademark Theft. It’s Baaaaaack in a Big Way |

Delhi man selling fake Louis Vuitton goods jailed not for trademark infringement but lying on oath |

Face-PALM: US Patent and Trademark Office database down for 5 days and counting |

COCO copyright and the Value of Moral Rights |

California Commands The Intellectual Property Landscape — High Taxes And China May Dethrone It |

[US] Seminar studies Indigenous cultural and intellectual property rights |

European Union: Dispute Over ‘’ Trademark |

[US] Why Protecting Recipes Under Intellectual Property Law May Leave a Bad Taste in Your Mouth |

US Copyright Office Review Board denies UEFA copyright protection over Starball logo |

Pinduoduo removes millions of suspected fake listings after stock plunges |

China to adopt stricter intellectual property rights – Premier Li |

Japan enjoys 30% jump in intellectual property trade surplus | [US] Federal Circuit rules on yin-yang trademark appeal |

At Home

Green Motion Wins Trademark Battle |

UK: There’s Something About Chocolate And Trade Marks |

Poundworld brand could be resurrected |

Tesco is ditching thousands of brands to hit back at cheaper rivals |

Easygroup sues ‘brand theft’ airlines |

Magnovo President Settles Trademark Lawsuit with Former Employer for $1.06 Million and Injunctions |

Aldi’s small business rip-off products could land them in court |

Why status of intellectual property is under the Brexit spotlight |

UK designers told to prepare for “actual possibility” of no-deal Brexit |


adidas’ bid to stop manufacturer from registering trademark locally gets rejected |

H&M’s New Brand Tapped Into the Power of Influencers and Instagram Polls to Create 2 New Products |

Estée Lauder files suit to protect Mac brand against fakes |

French and Faux? Balenciaga or JFK Souvenir Shop? |

How a Father’s Beloved Jacket Launched a Clothing Brand |

How a 134-year-old Portuguese brand caught the eye of millennials |

Partial success for Hugo Boss in trademark opposition at UKIPO |

Complaint Alleges Copying Affordable NY Souvenirs for Luxury Knockoffs |

La Mer is now a billion-dollar brand |

Dutch Female Founder Challenges The Leather Industry With Her Growing Brand |

Victoria’s Secret’s Pink lingerie ‘is not wanted any longer’ as investors shun L Brand shares |

DC vs. Alaskan Clothing Company Over ‘Wander Woman’ Trademark |

Design and Branding

This Brand’s CEO’s Advice To Other Brands: Develop Smart Heuristics |

In The Age Of Digital One Brand Goes Old School And Wins |

Make a Name for Yourself: 4 Expert Tips for Choosing a Name and Trademark |

The Brand Story Problem |

How Brands Can Use Platforms to Innovate and Drive Growth |

Ready, Set, Launch: Is Your Brand Prepared For The Spotlight? |

Expand Your Brand: 11 Repositioning Tips To Take From Chipotle |

Xiaomi makes global play with budget Android brand, Poco, starting at $300 |

How Häagen-Dazs is reimagining the brand for the Instagram generation |

17 brands millennials loved that ‘kids these days’ in Gen Z avoid |

One of the biggest brand innovators @Casper are coming out of the sleep sector, @MarketingWeekEd talk to team who are causing a stagnant category sleepless nights |


Warner Music Group buys youth media brand UPROXX to ‘influence culture’ |

Mars pulls YouTube advertising after brand is shown on drill music video |

Portsmouth Football Club wins bid to trademark “Pompey” name |

Drake Reportedly Files “God’s Plan” Trademark for Game Show |

Cardi B and Offset trademark baby daughter Kulture Kiari Cephus’s name |

Conor McGregor threatened with €250,000 fine following trademark battle over signature sportswear |

Comrade Brewing Wins Juicy Trademark Fight Over Superpower IPA |

Oh why, oh I, wonder if it is a substantial part… |

Disney Just Can’t Win Against Birthday Party Rip-Off Characters |

Miami MLS team name, crest potentially revealed |

Bruce Lee’s Estate Gets Stiff Roundhouse Kick After Trying To Block Theater Company’s Trademark |

Hasbro and DC Comics Settle ‘Bumblebee’ Trademark Dispute |

Heaven Hill sues Bob Dylan whiskey brand |

Beyoncé Wins Big In Lawsuit Against Man Trying To Trademark “Poison Ivy Park” |

Swatch prevails over Apple in ‘Think Different’ trademark dispute |

Great British Menu chef in trademark row with former restaurant |

D.C.’s Rick and Morty pop-up bar has been shut down after a legal injunction from Turner Broadcasting |

Brandwatch: Bud Light Is Placing Promotional Beer Fridges All Over Cleveland In Case the Browns Win a Game |

Katy Perry sued for copyright infringement, is Marcus Grey the Dark Horse? |

Colin Kaepernick Files Clothing Trademark for ‘I’m With Kap’ |

.@The_IPO on Dragons’ Den Episode 3 |

Everything Else

Bridgestone wins patent right infringement lawsuit against Fangxing in Shanghai intellectual property court |

Steve McQueen’s Family Sues Ferrari Over Trademark |

Monster Energy Opposes Trademark For Liquor Company Logo, But Will Have A Fight On Its Hands |

How Audi employees fight trademark infringements |

Fiat Chrysler tries to block sale of Mahindra Roxor off-road vehicle |

Here are some things you can’t get IP protection for |

Infringement watch: SHAASUIVG is my new favorite tech brand |

Japanese Designer 3D Prints Famous Logos Into Items You Can Use At Home |

McDonalds’ Corner Cafe logo violates trademark, lawsuit claims |

In-N-Out Sends Punny Cease And Desist Over Fairly Clear Trademark Infringement |

Express Homebuyers Wins Its Bid To Cancel Competitors ‘We Buy Houses’ Trademark |

Hummingbird sings no more after trademark writ slapped on cafe |

P&G Files to Trademark Some Millennial Phrases |

Nickelodeon Is Opposing A 12 Year Old New Zealand Girl’s ‘Slime’ Trademark For Some Reason |

Coca-Cola acquires Moxie, a soda brand beloved in Maine | Monsta Pizza triumph over Monster Energy in trademark row |

We will see you for next month’s World of IP Round-Up.

To contact our team of intellectual property solicitors please call:

📞 0113 237 9900

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World of IP Round Up: August 2018 | Game Over! was written by Dr. Martin Douglas Hendry

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