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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 56 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Name Game  (Read 1556 times)
ADGBoss
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Posts: 384


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« on: May 30, 2003, 05:46:41 AM »

I have a question, being more a student of international political law and not copyright law and all that. As you may or may not know (or have guessed) my company is / will be called Azure Dragon Games. So the logical acronym is ADG.  However, ADG is ALSO the acronym for Austrailian Design Group, a failry succssful and long term board game company.

Obviously logo et all is different and the REAL names are different, but am I treading on thin ice if I continue using ADG? Of course this assumes I am ever even remotely succesful getting something published, but one of the biggest problems a small company can face is getting in hot water over inadvertantly treading on someone's acronym.

Of course maybe they do not care and I have contemplated just emailing them and asking if they care but I wanted to grab some advice first.

Any thoughts or admonishments?

btw my site IS back up (more or less) so my sig is now viable again.


Thanks

Sean
ADGBoss
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Jack Aidley
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Posts: 488


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« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2003, 05:55:41 AM »

If you use your acronym I would think so. Remember the World Wrestling Federation was recently succefully sued by the World Wildlife Fund for using the initials WWF. Given that you are much closer in area of trade than these two organisations I have little doubt you would lose any such case.
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Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 2341


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« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2003, 06:02:51 AM »

Hi Sean,

Any thoughts or admonishments?

From World Wildlife Fund for Nature v World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Inc.:
    Since 1979, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (the Fund) and the World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Inc. (the Federation) have objected to each otherís use of the initial WWF, around the world. The Fund having the better claim to the rights in the initials WWF as a trademark, succeeded in obtaining an injunction in Switzerland against the distribution of the Federationís magazines in 1993. In 1994, the parties entered into a Contract, severely limiting the Federationís freedom in using the initials WWF in its trade. The Contract, governed by English law, applied to the Federationís activities worldwide.

    From 1997, the Federation was substantially in breach of the Contract, in particular by adoption of the domain name
www.wwf.com, and by changing its logo from one permitted by the terms of the Contract to one that more clearly represented the initials WWF. The Federation alleged that the restrictions on its use of the initials WWF were void at common law as being unreasonable restraint of trade....Finding the restraint valid and enforceable, the Court granted an injunction to the Fund...[/list:u]Paul
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Matt Gwinn
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 547


WWW
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2003, 06:14:19 AM »

Quote
If you use your acronym I would think so. Remember the World Wrestling Federation was recently succefully sued by the World Wildlife Fund for using the initials WWF. Given that you are much closer in area of trade than these two organisations I have little doubt you would lose any such case.


Just for the record.  The World Wildlife Fund is run by British Royalty which had a great deal to do with the success of their lawsuit.  There were a lot of politics in play there.  The World Wrestling Federation had been using the WWF acronym long before the World Wild Life Fund even existed.  Both organizations had come to an agreement about the use of the letters about 10 years ago.  The Wildlife Fund merely saw an opportunity to make some cash when WWE changed the style of their logo (breaking the original agreement).  Evidence of this is that the Wildlife Fund argued that people going to WWF.com were expecting to go to the Wildlife Fund site, not a wrestling site.  Promptly after the lawsuit WWF.com became an advertisment/search engine site, not a Wildlife Fund home page as one would suspect after all the ruckus.  The WWF tried to sue a second time, even after WWE had settled and made good on the settlement.  They lost that time.

But back to your question.  If you do a google search you will find that there are already multiple companies using the ADG acronym.  Unless you start making board games, I don't see how they can successfully sue you.

If you're still in doubt, just call them.

,Matt Gwinn
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ADGBoss
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Posts: 384


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« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2003, 06:26:37 AM »

I think I may try and come up with an alternate acronym just to be safe and also contact them.  Maybe they will give me some slack cause I am 1/4 Australian :)

Especially since eventually I DO want to produce some either miniature games or space ship war games.

Thank you all for the advice it helps me a great deal.

Sean
ADGBoss
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2003, 06:54:33 AM »

Definitely contact them. Find out if they've trademarked the initials. And lastly look on this as a potential advantage. Ask if they want to trade links to websites for people who get lost looking for one or the other.

Could end up being a win-win.

Mike
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ADGBoss
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Posts: 384


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« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2003, 06:56:24 AM »

Hmmmm that IS a good idea, I never thougth about that particular angle. Thanks Mike

Sean
ADGBoss
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Ben Morgan
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« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2003, 10:29:26 AM »

Another alternative is to simply drop the acronym for all but colloquial use. Your domain name and the logo on the site are already set for this.

-- Ben
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Pramas
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Posts: 53


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« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2003, 11:20:55 AM »

Something else you may want to consider is the Standard Manufacturer Code. This is the three letter acronym that's used as a prefix to all your product numbers. Green Ronin's, for example, is GRR, and our first book (Ork!) was GRR1001. Distributors and retailers use these codes to order your books, keep track of them in POS systems, and so on.

A quick look at Games Quarterly Catalog shows that Australian Design Group's code is ADG. This means that even if they are cool with you using ADG to refer to your company, all products that begin with ADG will in fact belong to them.

This isn't necessarily a disaster, btw. We are GRR because GRP was taken, and we've never had any difficulty. Still, something to consider.
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Chris Pramas
Green Ronin Publishing
www.greenronin.com
talysman
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Posts: 675


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« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2003, 05:38:21 PM »

Quote from: Pramas
Something else you may want to consider is the Standard Manufacturer Code. This is the three letter acronym that's used as a prefix to all your product numbers. Green Ronin's, for example, is GRR, and our first book (Ork!) was GRR1001. Distributors and retailers use these codes to order your books, keep track of them in POS systems, and so on.

A quick look at Games Quarterly Catalog shows that Australian Design Group's code is ADG. This means that even if they are cool with you using ADG to refer to your company, all products that begin with ADG will in fact belong to them.


maybe he should go with AZD, then? or is that one taken as well?
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John Laviolette
(aka Talysman the Ur-Beatle)
rpg projects: http://www.globalsurrealism.com/rpg
ADGBoss
Member

Posts: 384


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« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2003, 06:32:40 PM »

Well I spoke via email with Harry Rowland of Australian Design Group. He said ADG was not trademarked but that to avoid confusion and since they had been in business for 20 years they asked that I not use ADG. Well I decided its prolly a good idea to do so.  So for use on here, since they are not here I will continue using ADG but for the rest of the time I will use AzDG.  For ordering purposes I may use AZD or AZG or AZU (first thre letters of Azure) something along those lines.  

I appreciate the help and advice from everyone on this matter.  I do think contacting very early on was the way to go.


Sean
AzDGBoss
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