Nobody likes a trademark bully. Sometimes it can be tricky to draw the line between a company doing its due diligence to protect its intellectual property, and one that’s taking things too far and harassing innocents just because it can. It might be too early to say just where things fall in the latest incident to catch our attention, but we’ve got to admit that none of it’s making the trademark holder look very good.
This time Apple’s little more than a middleman in the situation, affecting iOS titles in the App Store. Apparently a German company called Ravensburger sells a board game named Memory, and it doesn’t like the idea of other companies releasing apps with that word in their titles.
The obvious problem with Ravensburger’s complaint is just how common a word “memory” is in the first place, let alone when we’re dealing with computerized devices. Furthermore, the classic “memory” card game, where you match like pairs, is fully genericized and in the public domain.
It may not be Apple’s place to intervene here, but it’s doing its part in passing along Ravensburger’s complaint to “infringing” app developers. The people behind apps like Preschool Memory Match report Apple delivering the company’s message to either change their apps’ names or stop selling them altogether.
Eventually, someone may stand up to protest Ravensburger’s actions, but for now, developers seem to be taking the far less expensive alternative of simply complying with its demands, at least in countries where the company’s trademark applies.