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Armaetus

Iron Maiden files trademark suit against Ion Maiden

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On 6/1/2019 at 11:38 AM, Slipgate Tourist said:

Someone forgot to take their Thorazine.

 

I hope this ridiculous case gets laughed out of court.

 

By legal standards, Iron Maiden is very likely to win this court battle.

Hopefully 3DRealms will swallow their pride and find an out-of-court settlement. Anything else is probably gonna send them into ruin.

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Iron Maiden believes they can scare a small company with a trademark lawsuit. How quaint.

 

As absurd as this may seem though, you might be correct. Ion Maiden DOES sound too similar.

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Even though i still think that it is just absurd that Iron Maiden's turd of a lawyer (or lawyer's) are going after Ion Maiden for sounding "too similar" (i mean it's a video game that's unrelated, not another musical group afterall) among the other crazy shit that they stated, i do think that 3DR/the Ion Maiden devs will probably change the name of the game just too avoid any charges/going to court. Basically the "play it safe" route.

 

3DRealms is a smaller company now (they aren't the same as they used to be) so imo i don't see them actually trying to fight this at all. Although i do hope that i'm completely wrong though.

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Posted (edited)

Problem is, a company like 3DR against Iron Maiden in court? That probably will spell their demise, so better play safe imo.

 

This is disgusting really, iirc they chose this name because they wanted it to be a reference/tribute to Iron Maiden and well, look at what that led to...

 

E: Now this is interesting, have they dropped the lawsuit in the meantime? Take a look at what I found:

 

qoYkpEt.png

Edited by seed

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12 hours ago, seed said:

Take a look at what I found:

That means that 3DRealms formally abandoned their registration of the trademark “Ion Maiden”.

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13 hours ago, seed said:

E: Now this is interesting, have they dropped the lawsuit in the meantime? Take a look at what I found:

 

qoYkpEt.png

They dropped this 5 months ago. Which either means they knew they couldn't get it registered or were forced to abandon it.

 

Anyway, this is some indication that the trademark suit they are facing now did not come out of the blue.

 

13 hours ago, seed said:

This is disgusting really, iirc they chose this name because they wanted it to be a reference/tribute to Iron Maiden and well, look at what that led to...

 

Considering that one former employer of mine once ran into a similar problem (long before I worked for them, though, but I was told the story several times), I can definitely say that as a business you want to verify up-front that you do not violate other entities' trademarks, especially not in a way that appears deliberate. If you use someone else's trademark to earn money, all the excuses in the world that this was a reference, a tribute, an hommage or whatever else don't count one bit. Either you clear the trademark up front and pay some licensing fees or don't use it! And when in doubt, make sure that those doubts are resolved.

 

 

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i wonder if using the picture of "iron maiden device", with text "iron maiden" will be a trademark infingement. and if yes, then since when it is possible to trademark PD things?

 

would be hard to explain, tho, because i don't get the ideas of "trademarks" and "intellectual property" at all.

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Posted (edited)

Trademarks apply to logos, branding and company names. It’s harder to enforce a trademark the less unique it is; e.g. common English words and phrases can be harder to enforce then invented ones. Trademarks also generally are enforced based on whether the potential conflict is in the same field or not or at least that makes the case stronger or weaker depending. A trademark that is not enforced has its rights lost eventually and becomes a generic trademark which can lead to overzealous litigation to avoid this negative side effect of inaction.

 

Public domain is unrelated to trademarks. It has to do with copyrights or rather the explicit lack of copyright due to the the copyright holder releasing the work into the public domain or the copyright lapsing due to enough time having passed relative to the local laws about how long copyrights are held.

 

So to answer your question, no, it is not a legal issue to use the text “iron maiden” next to a picture of one assuming you have the right use the picture (copyright and licensing issue) and you don’t style the text to look like the band logo (trademark issue).

 

Anyway I’m not a lawyer but from a layman’s understanding of US trademark law here’s my breakdown of this situation:

 

From the perspective of Ion Maiden legal defense team:

 

- A video game publisher is not the same “field” as a band; a consumer will not end up in HMV trying to buy an Iron Maiden CD and get bamboozled into buying an Ion Maiden published game

- There may be enough generic about the phrase “iron maiden” to make it challenging to try and apply the trademark when it’s not something as straightforward as another band straight up stealing the name

 

From the perspective of Iron Maiden’s lawyers:

 

- There seems to be more to this than just the phrase “iron maiden” including sounds and branding

- If this is an admitted homage it’s possible that it changes things legally especially if there is concern the homage is meant to imply endorsement

- When you realize that at least in US law, offensive trademark litigation is actually an act of defense and self-preservation, it makes some of these lawsuits more understandable because if they think this weakens their trademark and they don’t fight it they risk losing their trademark entirely so they are forced to litigate just to defend against their whole brand being unprotected in the future

Edited by insertwackynamehere

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23 minutes ago, insertwackynamehere said:

- A video game publisher is not the same “field” as a band; a consumer will not end up in HMV trying to buy an Iron Maiden CD and get bamboozled into buying an Ion Maiden published game

- There may be enough generic about the phrase “iron maiden” to make it challenging to try and apply the trademark when it’s not something as straightforward as another band straight up stealing the name

 

That's correct, but now let's be honest for one little moment: Is there anybody here who does know the band and hasn't made an immediate connection between it and the game? And here's where things get tricky. Since people knowing the b(r)and "Iron Maiden" will almost unconsciously make a connection here it will only strengthen the band's position in the case. So they actually can rightfully request to discontinue using that name - never mind that this should have been possible with far less hubbub several months ago. No need to being in the lawyers right away unless 3D Realms was acting unreasonable.

 

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1 hour ago, Graf Zahl said:

No need to being in the lawyers right away unless 3D Realms was acting unreasonable.

 

We might also be missing some pieces of the puzzle here. 3DR dropped the trademark back in January but they have continued to use the name anyway.

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4 hours ago, Graf Zahl said:

 

That's correct, but now let's be honest for one little moment: Is there anybody here who does know the band and hasn't made an immediate connection between it and the game? And here's where things get tricky. Since people knowing the b(r)and "Iron Maiden" will almost unconsciously make a connection here it will only strengthen the band's position in the case. So they actually can rightfully request to discontinue using that name - never mind that this should have been possible with far less hubbub several months ago. No need to being in the lawyers right away unless 3D Realms was acting unreasonable.

 

That is solely because Iron Maiden registered an old-age torturing device's name as a trademark--which is something that shouldn't be possible in the first place (and in many countries isn't).

 

And if it wasn't for that, the name "Ion Maiden" would make me think of ions and atoms and other types of nucular stuff and a lady of some kind--which would make for an obvious association with Duke Nukem, Radioactive Man, and similar space-age heroes, but very certainly not with a music band who used to be popular long ago.

 

Now, the alternatives suggested here wouldn't have saved them the trouble per se. Let me tell you why I think so.


- Atomic Angel

Neat, but might've gotten British pop group Atomic Kitten angry...

 

- Busty Nukem

This one might've gotten Gearbox angry. Remember, they own the rights to Duke Nukem now. Lawsuit 100%.

 

- Maiden of Mayhem (MoM)

Great, but, you know, Sonic Mayhem...

 

- Electric Lass

And I'm sure General Electric would find their way to sue 3DR on grounds of this one.

 

What is left is

- Shrapnel Shelly

This one is probably perfect. It could have easily avoided the issues without taking it all out of the 'you know, this is kinda our female Nukem-ish hero, but then again, it's just a hint, she has her own story, but she loves the nucular stuff, too' context and without giving Gearbox any room for claims. While Shrapnel Shelly easily reminds anyone who knows DN3D of Shrapnel City, the game's third episode (title), it isn't making it obvious on the outside, to outsiders, thus avoiding the kind of confusion Ion Maiden causes. It also makes it clear what her first name is, and why not?

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12 hours ago, Graf Zahl said:

Anyway, this is some indication that the trademark suit they are facing now did not come out of the blue.

 

No, this did not came out of the blue. They got a C&D letter month ago. TerminX wrote something over at duke4.net:

 

Quote

Eh? We agreed to abandon the trademark registration as a goodwill gesture to show our intent to not dilute the band's trademark (not that it would have), but they still wanted us to change the name which we declined to do. Abandoning the trademark doesn't really matter much here because trademarks are for enabling you to bring suits against others for infringement, and not explicitly for defending against them.

 

I think the lawsuit is the answer.

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1 hour ago, Get Phobo said:

Now, the alternatives suggested here wouldn't have saved them the trouble per se. Let me tell you why I think so.

 

Bomb Maiden™.

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11 hours ago, cybdmn said:

I think the lawsuit is the answer.

 

Ok then. In this case 3D Realms is entirely to blame themselves. It should have been clear that the band was not happy with this name and yet they persistently clung to it. Well, it was inevitable in this case. I cannot really say I am surprised that this wasn't the first action being taken.

 

Acting this densely when trademarks are involved is the certain road to trouble.

 

 

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I'm reminded of the Iron Maidens, a clan in BattleTanx: Global Assault.

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This reminds me, I still remember when the first Duke Nukem came out, there was a villain in Captain Planet with the exact same name. Because of this, v2.0 of the game was named Duke Nukum to avoid a potential lawsuit. Eventually though, it was found that the villain's name wasn't protected by copyright, so Apogee registered it and Nukum became Nukem again.

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Posted (edited)

That Captain Planet thing always confused me as a kid because your perception of fictional characters isn’t really bound to IP so you just take crossovers into stride, but the Captain Planet Duke Nukem was nothing like the side scroller character so I just didn’t understand WTF

Edited by insertwackynamehere

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1 hour ago, HavoX said:

This reminds me, I still remember when the first Duke Nukem came out, there was a villain in Captain Planet with the exact same name. Because of this, v2.0 of the game was named Duke Nukum to avoid a potential lawsuit. Eventually though, it was found that the villain's name wasn't protected by copyright, so Apogee registered it and Nukum became Nukem again.

So, getting tangential, but I'm also reminded of a funny name change that occurred during Blake Stone's development. The villain's name is Dr. Goldfire, changed from Goldstein after someone read it as possibly anti-Semitic (that is, the idea of the antagonist being an evil, rich old Jew). The grounds on which a name is appropriate is often vague.

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2 minutes ago, GoatLord said:

Goldstein

Goldstern.  Which means "gold star" in German so might have a few more unfortunate implications, but otherwise you're more or less on the same page as what I recall.  You can still find it in some of the source code references to him.

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Posted (edited)

Besides BattleTanx, Powerslave had an Egyptian theme, much like the Maiden album of the same name. I dont get why this instance, with 3D Realms, would be the one example where the similarities are too great.

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@GoatLord I imagine this sort of thing is why the game Powerslave was released as Exhumed in the UK.

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3D Realms are obviously in the right but that doesn't mean that Iron Maiden's lawyers can't and won't bury them with court fees. They can drag on the case for as long as they want.

 

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3 hours ago, DooM_RO said:

3D Realms are obviously in the righ

 

 

You have *obviously* no idea how trademark law works. This case is far from obvious.

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It amazes me how many people just don't get how damaging it could be to allow another entity to emulate your name/property without permission. There's no way anyone could logically conclude that Iron Maiden is in the wrong for wanting to protect everything they've built over the years.

 

The video game could contain something controversial that could upset a lot of people, which would,  in turn, damage the band. It's like giving a stranger the keys to your new car and asking very nicely for them to bring it back. "Please don't scratch it...". And, don't forget: Iron Maiden didn't ask for this - it was done to them, without permission. The game's name is obviously trying to imitate the band's name, and the font is pretty damn close as well. It doesn't take a genius to see the game guys pulling a "me too" job at the band's expense.

 

It's like someone setting up doomword.com or doomworld.org, or something, and everyone having to just trust that they are doing things right. It's just not cool, beyond everything else.

 

Even if the gamer do nothing controversial, it's possible that the band gets a bunch of emails for technical support, or even just comments on the game. Should the band have to filter through all that, telling everyone they're in the wrong place? It's not fair.

 

I'll say it again: They *had to do something* to protect everything they've built over a 40-year career. It's really not hard to imaging standing in their shoes.

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