January 11, 2011
Intended to protect companies from having their original ideas used without agreement, many times patent claims are exploited as a means for others to unreasonably budge in line after coming late to the success party or pushed aside by talented newcomers. The latter appears to be the situation in a new bully fight surrounding Lima Sky and the word "Doodle." Lima Sky, developer of the hit App Store title Doodle Jump, recently began trying to muscle similar app developers to relinquish the term "Doodle" from their iOS app names, claiming they are in violation of trademark infringement. Apparently, Igor Pušenjak, president and founder of Lima Sky, had begun such threats to developers only within the last year. We received information that Doodle Find developer, KlickTock, received their very own copy of an infringement notice yesterday. Bryan Duke of Acceleroto, creator of Doodle Hockey decided to make a small comment on the unfolding situation over in the Touch Arcade forums. Mr. Duke did a very nice overview of the situation. The highlights to his story include the fact that Lima Sky does indeed hold a patent on "Doodle Jump", which they were awarded only a couple of months ago, and that they attempted to claim ownership of "Doodle" but were ultimately denied. On top of that fact, there were Doodle titled games prior to Doodle Jump, including websites like Miniclip.com and some in the App Store; such as uDoodle and Pocket Doodle being available more than a month before Doodle Jump. It seems that Lima Sky is primarily just trying to reduce direct competition with small but successful developers by making grandiose claims on something that only seems intimidating if not inspected. Legal battles can stretch on for large lengths of time, making even legit defense expensive; where many decide it's just best to surrender. Seeing as there are hundreds of Doodle themed and titled iOS apps in existence, I'd tend to agree with Bryan that "If we all stand together on this, the little guy won't be so little. I'm fighting this. You should too." For those who've been Doodle Jump addicts, does this change your opinion of supporting Lima Sky or are you in the "I don't care" crowd? Perhaps, just give us your take on frivolous patent lawsuits in general.