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Regular Contributor
Posts: 63
Registered: ‎12-24-2010
My Device: Torch
Accepted Solution

How to engage in a dialogue with App World overlords?

Hello,

 

After several months of development, my app ( a Rubik Cube game ) has been accepted, and shortly after denied from App World on legal grounds:

 

Dear App World Vendor,
We are sorry but your request for 'Magic Cube' to be a product in the BlackBerry App World has been denied for the following reasons :
- The Rubik Cube term and design are trademarked and cannot be used unless expressly authorized to do so.
Thank you for your understanding in this matter,
Regards,
The BlackBerry App World™ Team 

 

The above came from blackberryappworldnotifications@rim.com. My reply seems to have been ignored. How can I engage in a dialogue here? 

Developer
Posts: 51
Registered: ‎01-24-2011
My Device: 9800
My Carrier: At&t

Re: How to engage in a dialogue with App World overlords?

it seems like they accepted it but then realized it was trademarked so it had to be taken off the appworld, there's nothing to do with that because it's a legal term and you are "supposed to agree with that" when you applied for your vendor account, unless you get a license or a permission from the trademarkers. 

 

i know how it feels after all the hardwork you did it cannot be sold because of that , something really similar happened to me, but those are the Appworld terms and we have to accept them.

 

if you don't get an instant reply it's ok, after all, that notification speaks for itself...

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Regular Contributor
Posts: 63
Registered: ‎12-24-2010
My Device: Torch

Re: How to engage in a dialogue with App World overlords?

[ Edited ]

I understand the trademark claim. What I am asking for is any form of a dialogue - rather than a dry 'The Rubik Cube term and design are trademarked and cannot be used unless expressly authorized to do so'.  I would like to ask what should I change in my app so that it can be published. I think this is a reasonable request? Or do they expect me to keep guessing?

 

And if nothing can be done, ( i.e. all Rubik Cube applications - even if not explicitly called 'Rubik Cube' - cannot be published ) I'd like to ask how come all of BB's competitors ( Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia ) all have multiple Rubik apps in their stores? Here are the links:

 

 

Apple's App Store: in here:
http://puzzlingiphone.wordpress.com/2008/11/26/great-apps-but-wasted-efforts/
author lists no less than 23 rubik cube apps present in the App Store.

Android Market:
go to https://market.android.com and search for 'rubik' . The very first page lists no less than 7 Rubik apps.  ( https://market.android.com/search?q=rubik&so=1&c=apps )

Nokia's Ovi Store:
Ditto, go to https://store.ovi.com and search for 'rubik'. I'll do it for you: http://store.ovi.com/search?q=rubik lists 7 rubik apps, 2 of them - mine.

Windows Phone:
http://www.windowsphone.com/en-US/search?q=rubik  lists 3 rubik apps.

Developer
Posts: 6,541
Registered: ‎10-27-2010
My Device: HTC One, PlayBook, LE Z10, DE Q10
My Carrier: Verizon

Re: How to engage in a dialogue with App World overlords?

Seems like other stores do not enforce copyrights as strong as RIM does. You could try to find out who as the copyright to Rubik Cube and see if you can get a letter authorizing you to have an app that has the look and feel of their original game. Or you can try to come up with a variation to it so users would not be confused between the two games.
Regular Contributor
Posts: 63
Registered: ‎12-24-2010
My Device: Torch

Re: How to engage in a dialogue with App World overlords?

John,

 

the thing is - I would like to hear this advice from a RIM employee. I dont want to spend another couple of months chasing the trademark owners and getting letters, if what I am going to hear after all this trouble would be another one-sentence denial. Nor do I want to keep guessing, modifying and resubmitting the app in hope this time it is sufficiently different from the original to be accepted.

 

So - coming back to the original question - is there any way an App Vendor and RIM can be partners in this business and engage in a dialogue?

Developer
Posts: 6,541
Registered: ‎10-27-2010
My Device: HTC One, PlayBook, LE Z10, DE Q10
My Carrier: Verizon

Re: How to engage in a dialogue with App World overlords?

This would be nice. RIM infrequently monitors these forums. We have an app that has been held up by "management" for over 4 months now. No word in why it has not been approved nor has it been denied. It is just in limbo, while management discusses it without any communication with us. The RIM people that do monitor the sites have limited input into RIM policies. Keep on pushing, but be prepared for a long periods of waiting.
Developer
Posts: 1,452
Registered: ‎11-06-2009
My Device: Torch 9810
My Carrier: WiFi

Re: How to engage in a dialogue with App World overlords?


Utumno wrote:

 

So - coming back to the original question - is there any way an App Vendor and RIM can be partners in this business and engage in a dialogue?


Vendor support form is the fastest way to get some attention

https://www.blackberry.com/profile/?eventId=8109



"When you become a level 3 developer, you learn to communicate over the ether. I'm told that level 5 developers are ascend into a higher level of existence beyond the physical realm." gord888 @ crackberry
Regular Contributor
Posts: 63
Registered: ‎12-24-2010
My Device: Torch

Re: How to engage in a dialogue with App World overlords?

[ Edited ]

Thanks to QuiteSimple I managed to contact RIM and basically reiterate the points I have made here. They replied with a polite email showing that they have at least read and understood my points. Kudos to RIM ( and QuiteSimple! ) . In the email,

 

**************************************************************************************************************************

1) In response to me pointing out that all of their competition allows multiple Rubik Cube apps in their stores, they write

 

As for competitors stores, these are independently owned and operated and although Google and Apple may allow such applications we cannot as it would violate and hinder our relationship with our vendors.

 

2) In response to me inquiring what - if anything - should be modified in the app for it to become publishable, they write

 

'we cannot allow your application “Magic Cube” as not only the term Rubik’s Cube, but also the design of the cube itself is trademarked. We have received pushback from the vendor with the rights to this product to remove any applications that violate it. '

**************************************************************************************************************************



Ok, let's go through those points.

 

'The vendor' is obviously Magmic Inc ( http://www.magmic.com ) , as their Rubik Cube app currently monopolizes App World ( http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/content/14727 ) .  I agree that if Magmic has valid rights to the 'Rubik Cube' term and design, then there's nothing I can do. So let's see if their claim is valid.

 

First, trademarks are per-country. Let's assume Magmic indeed has Rubik Cube trademarked in countries X,Y and Z - I still should be able to distribute my app everywhere but in X,Y and Z. That's going to be my point no 1.

 

Second, IANAL, but from what I am reading here trademarks are supposed to ' identify that the products or services to consumers with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or services from those of other entities.' ( quoting Wikipedia ) Thus, a trademark is not supposed to prevent competition from coming up with a similar product - if you want to do this, you have to patent it, which is a much more complicated procedure. A trademark is only supposed to prevent competition from coming up with a similar name or logo, and BTW that is why I called my app 'Magic Cube' . That's going to be my point no 2.

 

Third, a quick search through the US Patent and Trademark office ( http://www.uspto.gov/ ) TESS' database shows that the term (not design! ) 'Rubik Cube' is indeed trademarked in the US, but by 'SEVEN TOWNS LTD. CORPORATION ASSIGNEE OF UNITED KINGDOM 7 LAMBTON PLACE LONDON W11 2SH ENGLAND' . To search yourself, go to http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/index.jsp, click ( on the left ) on 'Trademark Electronic Search System' and search for 'rubik' .    That's going to be my point no 3.

 

Fourth, I will point out that RIM is doing their customers a disservice by locking them with an inferior and overpriced product. Why overpriced? Magmic used to cost $6.99 for a Rubik's Cube, only recently they dropped the price to $3.99. During the week my app was there, it cost $2.99, and I would have lowered it to $1.99 after the first month.  Why inferior? Well, I happen to compete against Magmic in Nokia's Ovi Store. I simply blow them out of the water there, just take a look and our user ratings:

 

Mine: http://store.ovi.com/content/26449/reviews ( 47 ratings, average 4/5 )

Theirs: http://store.ovi.com/content/149567/reviews ( 0 ratings )

 

 

Developer
Posts: 6,541
Registered: ‎10-27-2010
My Device: HTC One, PlayBook, LE Z10, DE Q10
My Carrier: Verizon

Re: How to engage in a dialogue with App World overlords?

You might want to look at copyright laws as well. True trademarks / service marks are to protect the name, copyrights law are to protect variations that may confuse the consumer. It is best to look at this from the other side. If you spent years in developing a brand and someone else produced a product that was "similar" that a consumer would not really know the difference and they made money on that, what would you do?
Regular Contributor
Posts: 63
Registered: ‎12-24-2010
My Device: Torch

Re: How to engage in a dialogue with App World overlords?

they dont claim to hold a copyright. They claim a 'trademark on term and design'.