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Bugs: Recent Topics Paging, Uploading Images & Preview (11 Dec 2020)

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× Talk about Eurogames here.

Hans im Gluk has trademarked Meeple and sent their first C&D

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28 May 2024 12:35 #342368 by cdennett
Despite my general dislike for "Meeples" as both objects and a name, this is a dick move. So the crowdfunding game "Meeple Inc." received a cease and desist letter from Hans im Gluk to stop all use of the name and shape of "meeples." The company, named Cogito Ergo Meeple, will have to change both the name and much of the art of the game, plus their own company name, due to this. And there is plenty of evidence to support the coinage of "meeple" by the community, not Carcassonne. I do think they probably have a strong case for the shape, for what it's worth, but they sure as hell took a long time to get around to protecting it. In any case, it feels the the EU trademark office should maybe have done a quick internet search to see that the term was used independently over 20 years ago. An attempt to get the trademark in the US apparently failed some number of years ago by some rando, as well. Maybe the US office knows how to use the internet.

Historical thread on the term "meeple" and attempts to trademark it: boardgamegeek.com/thread/283853/is-the-t...r-trademarked/page/1

I'd boycott Hans im Gluk if they actually made anything I wanted to buy...
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28 May 2024 12:37 #342369 by cdennett
Oh, and there are like 85 games on BGG with "Meeple" in the title, not to mention all those games that use that shape. Curious on how they will choose to enforce this going forward.
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28 May 2024 13:31 #342370 by Sagrilarus
Oddly enough, they only choose to enforce on a small publisher. You'd think they'd be more concerned with a great big company.

I wonder why they haven't sent a nastygram to Asmodee's legal team.
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28 May 2024 13:34 #342371 by Shellhead
I will now call them "Hans I'm Gluck Gluck 9000," and they can die mad about it.
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28 May 2024 15:21 #342373 by cdennett

Sagrilarus wrote: Oddly enough, they only choose to enforce on a small publisher. You'd think they'd be more concerned with a great big company.

1. Small companies don't have the resources to fight so this was an easy target to start "defending" their trademark so it doesn't get stripped.
2. They considered this one particularly egregious based upon the title and the prominence of said meeple shape.
In their defense they did not tell the company to change it's name, they're just doing it out of caution.

I wonder why they haven't sent a nastygram to Asmodee's legal team.

Maybe afraid a real challenge to the trademark and they'd lose it? Maybe they do some work with Asmodee?

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28 May 2024 15:24 #342374 by cdennett

Shellhead wrote: I will now call them "Hans I'm Gluck Gluck 9000," and they can die mad about it.


I had to look that one up, and time to wipe my search history...
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28 May 2024 16:08 #342375 by n815e
It will be easier to take on Asmodee after they’ve got judgements in their favor against smaller companies.

Douches.

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28 May 2024 16:18 #342376 by ChristopherMD
*shrugs* I've always preferred calling them "pawns" anyways.

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28 May 2024 17:34 #342378 by Jackwraith

n815e wrote: It will be easier to take on Asmodee after they’ve got judgements in their favor against smaller companies.


This. Once they have a precedent, a lot of courts will just cite that as a reason to go to summary judgments on future cases. It would be up to a more deep-pocketed company to really stand and fight at that point. This affects not just the original victim or those with "meeple" in their name, but also companies like Gamelyn, who years ago boasted their ITEMeeple system that allowed the meeples in the Tiny Epic games to hold items and potentially anyone else who uses them as a component, depending on how broad the judgment actually is. It's complete bullshit and really a weird angle to take in terms of IP protection. They should have tried this 20 years ago if they thought it was going to be taken seriously.
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28 May 2024 17:43 #342379 by Shellhead
Wizards of the Coast copyrighted the term "tapping" more than a decade ago.

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28 May 2024 18:07 #342381 by cdennett

Shellhead wrote: Wizards of the Coast copyrighted the term "tapping" more than a decade ago.

...and the entire card game industry stopped using that term entirely. In that case they couldn't stop you from rotating a card to activate it (as mechanisms aren't copyrightable), just from using the term. I mean, I'm not sure what they gained from it other than now we use the term "activate" instead? Or I dunno, I was never a Magic player...
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28 May 2024 20:50 - 28 May 2024 21:12 #342384 by Cappster_

Shellhead wrote: Wizards of the Coast copyrighted the term "tapping" more than a decade ago.


Wizards had a Patent on Magic: the Gathering, (filed in 1997) which included the mechanism "tapping".

"Tapping" itself was protected by a copyright , and the tap symbol with a Trademark. There were multiple layers of protection for Magic, and they were well in place as the game was coming out.

This nonsense with HiG is just that, nonsense, and it might be in some of the larger companies best interest to "help out the little guy" so that a precedent isn't set.
Last edit: 28 May 2024 21:12 by Cappster_.
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29 May 2024 11:05 #342387 by Shellhead

Cappster_ wrote:

Shellhead wrote: Wizards of the Coast copyrighted the term "tapping" more than a decade ago.


Wizards had a Patent on Magic: the Gathering, (filed in 1997) which included the mechanism "tapping".

"Tapping" itself was protected by a copyright , and the tap symbol with a Trademark. There were multiple layers of protection for Magic, and they were well in place as the game was coming out.

This nonsense with HiG is just that, nonsense, and it might be in some of the larger companies best interest to "help out the little guy" so that a precedent isn't set.


The tapping thing led to a strange situation for the ccg Vampire: the Eternal Struggle (fka Jyhad).

Richard Garfield designed both Magic and Jyhad, and both games were originally published by Wizards of the Coast. Despite being a better design, Jyhad was a longer, heavier game that was harder to get on the table than Magic, so it never came close to the success of Magic. Also, WotC changed the name from Jyhad to Vampire: the Eternal Struggle after publishing the first edition (for political reasons), forcing players to sleeve their cards for competitive play due to the mismatched card backs. So WotC stopped published Vampire/Jyhad in 1996. Then WotC got purchased by Hasbro, and Hasbro sold off the rights to Vampire/Jyhad to White Wolf, the creators of the World of Darkness setting for Vampire/Jyhad.

Perhaps the agreement between WotC and White Wolf was just a licensing agreement and included an exemption regarding the term "tap," as Garfield used the term extensively in both Magic and Jyhad. Or maybe Jyhad was exempt due to a grandfather clause. At any rate, White Wolf printed more than a dozen expansion sets and two new base sets for the game, using the term "tap" everywhere. Then White Wolf got purchased by CCP in 2006, because CCP wanted to do a MMORPG of the World of Darkness. CCP tried and failed, while abandoning the rpgs and other product lines for the World of Darkness. Eventually Paradox Interactive acquired the White Wolf IPs and licensed Vampire/Jyhad to Black Chantry, maybe in 2019 or so. Black Chantry made some rule changes and has consistently used the terms "lock" and "locked" in place of "tap" and "tapped." Probably because Black Chantry doesn't have any sort of direct agreement with Hasbro to use the term "tap."
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30 May 2024 14:35 #342393 by Ah_Pook
WTF. Like this is just terrible optics to try this after all this time. Like what's their best case scenario... you win this case and the entire boardgame hobby hates you now?
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30 May 2024 15:23 #342394 by Shellhead
♫ Meeple are meeple, so why should it be
You and I should get along so awfully? ♫
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