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Fighters Uncaged News Post


UFC owner Zuffa Inc. has decided to sue Ubisoft over a tagline on the back of the Fighters Uncaged box:

Quote:
"UFC owner Zuffa LLC filed the trademark infringement suit against Ubisoft over a phrase on the back cover of the Xbox 360 game Fighters Uncaged, which says, "Become the ULTIMATE FIGHTING weapon!" Zuffa claims the phrase is "identical or confusingly similar" to its trademarked "Ultimate Fighting" name.

"Defendant's invitation for players to 'charge head first into the vicious world of illegal fighting' tarnishes the goodwill Zuffa has in its UFC marks," the company said in its lawsuit. "Zuffa has grown a successful mixed martial arts organization by moving away from the image of mixed martial arts as illegal street fighting, and taking it into the realm of a legitimate sport. This was no easy task and required years and much effort to reach today's legitimacy and widespread acceptance.""
Of course, the suit should be customers suing Ubisoft for putting out a terrible game. The game reviewed at a 3 out of 10 here at Operation Sports, which makes it one of the lowest rated games in our site's 10-year history.

Game: Fighters UncagedReader Score: Vote Now
Platform: Xbox 360Votes for game: 0 - View All
Member Comments
# 1 ven0m43 @ 12/11/10 12:31 PM
I feel like the UFC will and should loose this battle over this dumb issue.
 
# 2 aholbert32 @ 12/11/10 01:05 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ven0m43
I feel like the UFC will and should loose this battle over this dumb issue.
You are 100 percent wrong. The UFC owns the "Ultimate Fighting" trademark. The Ubisoft game clearly uses the mark in that description and it is clearly trading off the fame and familiarity of the mark and the UFC name. Its pretty clear trademark infringement.
 
# 3 tpshogun @ 12/11/10 02:18 PM
Yeah, I think this is a legitimate suit. As lame as it seems, as said above, the UFC is trying to distance itself from the "Glorified Street Fighting" label. UFC should win this for sure.
 
# 4 allBthere @ 12/11/10 02:43 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by aholbert32
You are 100 percent wrong. The UFC owns the "Ultimate Fighting" trademark. The Ubisoft game clearly uses the mark in that description and it is clearly trading off the fame and familiarity of the mark and the UFC name. Its pretty clear trademark infringement.
That may be the case, but I fundamentally disagree with it. Also, how much money do you feel ZUFFA is entitled to?

Their choice to sue is odd as well since no one is buying the game, most people don't even know it exists.

But in the end I disagree with their right to sue over saying "ultimate fighting weapon" in the description on the back of the box. "ultimate fighting weapon" isn't a sport, UFC ultimate fighter or any of that. I think it's a waste of time, money and it's petty.
 
# 5 Beantown @ 12/11/10 03:10 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by allBthere
I think it's a waste of time, money and it's petty.
However, at the end of the day it's their brand. "Ultimate Fighting," "Ultimate Fighter," and pretty much any other variation of those two are the UFC's brand. Their organization is called by that brand, their weekly television show is called by that brand and they use that slogan.

It may be petty to us, but this is their business and someone taking your brand and putting it on the back of their box is well worth a suit to get it removed.
 
# 6 allBthere @ 12/11/10 06:19 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by JerseySuave4
i dont think they really care about winning money. I think its the principle. They don't want people seeing Ultimate Fighting anything unless it comes from them because they then can't control the image portrayed by the product. They are fighting to make the sport legit and putting something out that is street fighting helps portray the negative stereotype they are trying to distance themself from.
I understand your point and the points above you, but as I said I just fundamentally disagree with the ability to sue over this.

It's not the title of the game or anywhere in the title, it's only on the back of the box. It's also within a larger context of what else is being written. It also isn't UFC it's a partial 'ultimate fighting' with the 'weapon' addition differeciates it even more.

It's like if I were to write a book with that one line in it I would be sued, like they've somehow patented similar words being put beside one another.

It might be fun to think of alternative cases of the same thing - and see how big (or small) of a deal it would be. For instance let's say I made a work out game for kinect called 'no more fatguy!' and on the back I said it will drive your body to the point of INSANITY! --- now can I expect the insanity people to sue me?

I don't think they should or maybe even could win that case --- but fundamentally for me that is beside the point, I'm arguing that even if it's clear as day that they would win according to the law - I just hate that law and don't think people should be able to sue so easily, especially over language used in the wider context of a descriptive paragraph.
 
# 7 aholbert32 @ 12/11/10 07:01 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by allBthere
That may be the case, but I fundamentally disagree with it. Also, how much money do you feel ZUFFA is entitled to?

Their choice to sue is odd as well since no one is buying the game, most people don't even know it exists.

But in the end I disagree with their right to sue over saying "ultimate fighting weapon" in the description on the back of the box. "ultimate fighting weapon" isn't a sport, UFC ultimate fighter or any of that. I think it's a waste of time, money and it's petty.
The UFC HAS to sue to protect its mark. If it didnt, it runs the risk of dilution and another company using the mark. For example, lets say if EA decides that on the back of EA MMA 2 "Create your favorite Ultimate Fighter." They could argue that the UFC failed to protect its mark against Ubisoft and therefore they are permitted to use it in that manner.

The suit isnt about money because the UFC is unlikely to recover much based on the fact the game didnt sell much and they would struggle to prove damage to the park. The suit is about protecting its mark. I promise you the UFC sent several cease and desist letters to Ubisoft asking them to change the wording and Ubisoft responded by refusing. That left the UFC with no choice.

Also the fact that they used the words "Ultimate Fighting Weapon" doesnt mean that Ubi isnt using the UFC's mark. Thats like me opening a fast food restaurant called "McDonalds and Sons" with the sons in small print. Yes, technically I'm not using the Mcdonalds name alone...but I am using the McDonald's name to entice people to come to my place.
 
# 8 aholbert32 @ 12/11/10 07:32 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by allBthere
I understand your point and the points above you, but as I said I just fundamentally disagree with the ability to sue over this.

It's not the title of the game or anywhere in the title, it's only on the back of the box. It's also within a larger context of what else is being written. It also isn't UFC it's a partial 'ultimate fighting' with the 'weapon' addition differeciates it even more.

It's like if I were to write a book with that one line in it I would be sued, like they've somehow patented similar words being put beside one another.

It might be fun to think of alternative cases of the same thing - and see how big (or small) of a deal it would be. For instance let's say I made a work out game for kinect called 'no more fatguy!' and on the back I said it will drive your body to the point of INSANITY! --- now can I expect the insanity people to sue me?

I don't think they should or maybe even could win that case --- but fundamentally for me that is beside the point, I'm arguing that even if it's clear as day that they would win according to the law - I just hate that law and don't think people should be able to sue so easily, especially over language used in the wider context of a descriptive paragraph.
Writing a book with that one line would not invite a suit from the UFC because that use is not a trademark use. You arent using the line to sell your book. The only way that use would invite a suit is if you called your book "The Guide to Ultimate Fighting". That gives the impression that ur book is associated or sponsored by the UFC.

Again, Ubisoft didnt use that line for any reason but to associate its game with the UFC's mark. There are so many other words that Ubi could have used instead of "ultimate"
 
# 9 RumbleCard @ 12/11/10 08:48 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by JerseySuave4
if they have it trademarked they have it trademarked. Just like the guys that owned the name Rays Pizza and Famous Rays who sued all of the other Rays pizzas in NY that had variations of that name. It seems stupid that they could trademark those words but Michael Buffer has the "Lets get ready to rumble" trademarked so others can't use that saying without paying him royalties. It may seem petty and stupid but thats the point of a trademark.
The Rays pizza analogy isn't the same. The word "Ray" is being used as ownership...or to move product based on the use of the word. Its about representation.

You don't own the words Ultimate and Fighting just because you own the trademark for an Ultimate Fighting Company. Now if these guys would have named their game Ultimate Street Fighting then the case is a lot more relevant. You don't take ownership of words you take ownership of what those words represent. Big difference.
 
# 10 ven0m43 @ 12/11/10 09:34 PM
A "ULTIMATE FIGHTING weapon", to me, has nothing to do with becoming a ULTIMATE FIGHTER who does MMA. I watch the ultimate fighter and have never heard them say they are going to watch ultimate fighting in the cage, etc. When I see, read, or hear "ultimate fighting weapon" I don't think of the ultimate fighter at all. I feel that they are taking the words out of context and twisting it to making it seem that they're referring to their company.

I understand Zuffa's reason to sue over it, since its a fighting game and they dont want to be compared to this. They've been trying to change the idea that MMA is a violent and cruel sport where they;re just trying to hurt/injure the guy.
 
# 11 aholbert32 @ 12/11/10 09:40 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ven0m43
A "ULTIMATE FIGHTING weapon", to me, has nothing to do with becoming a ULTIMATE FIGHTER who does MMA. I watch the ultimate fighter and have never heard them say they are going to watch ultimate fighting in the cage, etc. When I see, read, or hear "ultimate fighting weapon" I don't think of the ultimate fighter at all. I feel that they are taking the words out of context and twisting it to making it seem that they're referring to their company.

I understand Zuffa's reason to sue over it, since its a fighting game and they dont want to be compared to this. They've been trying to change the idea that MMA is a violent and cruel sport where they;re just trying to hurt/injure the guy.

You guys arent using the law to analyze this suit. Under Trademark law, the case is pretty clear.
 
# 12 RumbleCard @ 12/12/10 04:24 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by aholbert32
You guys arent using the law to analyze this suit. Under Trademark law, the case is pretty clear.
To define Trademark

"A name, symbol, or other device identifying a product"

Their not identifying their product by using those words. Their describing it. Its not a reference of property its a description of it.

You do not trademark adjectives or verbs you trademark nouns.

To further expand my point when working with trademarks you would think along these lines of thought to protect yourself from infringing.

Quote:
NEVER use a trademark as a noun. Always use a trademark as an adjective modifying a noun.

NEVER modify a trademark to the plural form. Instead, change the generic word from singular to plural.
So in the legal sense of it all this case has no merit because the trademark words are only used as adjectives for a completely different trademark product. They're not taking another companies trademark property and representing it as their own. Which would be where the infringement occurs.

Infringement might occur had they said "Take these Ultimate Fighters to the street" or something along those lines.
 
# 13 aholbert32 @ 12/12/10 05:52 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by RumbleCard
To define Trademark

"A name, symbol, or other device identifying a product"

Their not identifying their product by using those words. Their describing it. Its not a reference of property its a description of it.

You do not trademark adjectives or verbs you trademark nouns.

To further expand my point when working with trademarks you would think along these lines of thought to protect yourself from infringing.

So in the legal sense of it all this case has no merit because the trademark words are only used as adjectives for a completely different trademark product. They're not taking another companies trademark property and representing it as their own. Which would be where the infringement occurs.

Infringement might occur had they said "Take these Ultimate Fighters to the street" or something along those lines.

They are identifying a product. The mark "Ultimate Fighting" identifies and is synonomous with the UFC promotion.

You couldnt be more wrong about trademarking adjectives or verbs. If that was true, no one would have adjectives or verbs as registered trademarks. There is a review process used by the USPTO to approve registered trademarks. "Ultimate Fighting" is a registered trademark (not just a in use mark) so its cleared the USPTO registration process and was approved as a mark. The company Xerox has the mark 'xeroxing" trademarked. The term "xeroxing" is considered an adjective.

No offense but your analysis of this claim is extremely basic. You arent even considering likelihood of confusion or passing off which is considered different forms of infringement also. I'm an Intellectual Property attorney for a media company and I handle trademark claims and lawsuits every day. We have sued, threatened to sued and been sued over marks that were considered adjectives or verbs. We've won cases over marks that were adjectives or verbs.

The only argument that Ubi may make is that the use was purely descriptive but thats BS. The use of the mark was clearly to make a consumer think of the UFC and to use the UFC's notoriety to entice someone to purchase the game.
 
# 14 RumbleCard @ 12/12/10 07:07 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by aholbert32
They are identifying a product. The mark "Ultimate Fighting" identifies and is synonomous with the UFC promotion.

You couldnt be more wrong about trademarking adjectives or verbs. If that was true, no one would have adjectives or verbs as registered trademarks. There is a review process used by the USPTO to approve registered trademarks. "Ultimate Fighting" is a registered trademark (not just a in use mark) so its cleared the USPTO registration process and was approved as a mark. The company Xerox has the mark 'xeroxing" trademarked. The term "xeroxing" is considered an adjective.

No offense but your analysis of this claim is extremely basic. You arent even considering likelihood of confusion or passing off which is considered different forms of infringement also. I'm an Intellectual Property attorney for a media company and I handle trademark claims and lawsuits every day. We have sued, threatened to sued and been sued over marks that were considered adjectives or verbs. We've won cases over marks that were adjectives or verbs.

The only argument that Ubi may make is that the use was purely descriptive but thats BS. The use of the mark was clearly to make a consumer think of the UFC and to use the UFC's notoriety to entice someone to purchase the game.
I don't think your point and my point are far off from each other. We aren't entirely disagreeing here.

Xerox is a good example I'm glad you used it. By identifying xerox as property the adjective "xeroxing" becomes a direct reference of the property...it's not a simple descriptive word anymore...or never really was. The verb somewhat becomes a noun or direct reference of trademark property. Replace xerox with the word coping and the game changes.

There is a difference. Example. Lets say there is a company named Fascinating Cakes. That doesn't mean that I can't describe my cakes as fascinating unless I'm using the word in a way that implies it's my intended property not a simple description of one.

Product confusion or intent to confuse is a whole additional can of worms and I agree that if the intent was there to confuse consumers the case is a lot more relevant. So point taken there.

The way you're describing Trademark infringement implies that since UFC has trademarked Ultimate Fighting that no one else can use the word Ultimate to describe their property. Which I'm sure you'll agree is simply not true.

The only red flag here is that it's a fighting game using the word Ultimate as an adjective in describing their game. Did they intend to confuse the public in to thinking their fight roster was that of "Ultimate Fighting Championship"? If that's your only point then I agree with you that it could be a case. What I don't agree with (if it's what you meant) is that descriptive words are off limits if they're trademarked.

again going back to this....

Quote:
NEVER use a trademark as a noun. Always use a trademark as an adjective modifying a noun.

NEVER modify a trademark to the plural form. Instead, change the generic word from singular to plural.
Somewhat off point but its why a company like Stanley Steemer uses the word Steem instead of Steam. They have recourse with Steem but it's a lot more difficult to have a handle on Steam.
 
# 15 RumbleCard @ 12/12/10 07:11 PM
I'm just not sold that

"Become the ULTIMATE FIGHTING weapon!"

is intended to identify their property vs. simply describing their fighters as top notch fighting weapons.

Is ULTIMATE FIGHTING in caps on the back of the box or was that put in caps to emphasize the point of the article. I could see if the verbiage on the back of the box could be confusing if its all in 8 font and then we see a giant "ULTIMATE FIGHTING" in 30 font smack dab in the middle.

Do we have an actual shot of the back of the box?
 
# 16 aholbert32 @ 12/12/10 07:25 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by RumbleCard
I don't think your point and my point are far off from each other. We aren't entirely disagreeing here.

Xerox is a good example I'm glad you used it. By identifying xerox as property the adjective "xeroxing" becomes a direct reference of the property...it's not a simple descriptive word anymore...or never really was. The verb becomes a noun or direct reference of trademark property. Replace xerox with the word coping and the game changes.

There is a difference. Example. Lets say there is a company named Fascinating Cakes. That doesn't mean that I can't describe my cakes as fascinating unless I'm using the word in a way that implies it's my intended property not a simple description of one.

Product confusion or intent to confuse is a whole additional can of worms and I agree that if the intent was there to confuse consumers the case is a lot more relevant. So point taken there.

The way you're describing Trademark infringement implies that since UFC has trademarked Ultimate Fighting that no one else can use the word Ultimate to describe their property. Which I'm sure you'll agree is simply not true.

The only red flag here is that it's a fighting game using the word Ultimate as an adjective in describing their game. Did they intend to confuse the public in to thinking their fight roster was that of "Ultimate Fighting Championship"? If that's your only point then I agree with you that it could be a case. What I don't agree with (if it's what you meant) is that descriptive words are off limits if they're trademarked.

again going back to this....




The issue was never the use of the term "Ultimate". The UFC is objecting to the use of the mark "Ultimate Fighting". The UFC doesnt even own the mark "Ultimate". Ubi could have the sentence "Create the ultimate weapon by learning different fighting styles" and the UFC would have no leg to stand on here. Ubi chose to use the term "Ultimate Fighting".

To use your "Fascinating Cakes" example, lets say you own that mark and have made it world famous. Everyone in the world knows your cakes by that mark. Lets say I have a cake shop called "Aaron's Cakes" and I make similar cakes. Now on one of my promotional ads I have the slogan "Aaron's Cakes - Where you can find the most fascinating cakes in the world!"

My argument would be that I'm using the word "fascinating" to describe my cakes. Your argument would be that I'm using your mark to either associate my shop with your shop and I'm purposely creating consumer confusion. You would have the stronger argument. 1) Your mark is world famous especially in the cake world so I cant claim that I had no knowledge of your mark. 2) Proving customer confusion wont be difficult, all I need is one or two examples of people thinking that my shop was affiliated with yours because of the mark. 3. There are several other words I could have used to describe my cakes without referencing a world famous mark.

I never said descriptive words were off limits. I'm not claiming the UFC can prevent anyone from using the word ultimate. I'm stating that they can prevent anyone from using the mark "Ultimate Fighting" in a trademark manner. Its pretty clear that Ubi intended to use those to have customers believe that the game was affiliated with the UFC (Doesnt mean the game has to have its roster, just that its connected in some way to the UFC).
 
# 17 RumbleCard @ 12/12/10 08:14 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by aholbert32
The issue was never the use of the term "Ultimate". The UFC is objecting to the use of the mark "Ultimate Fighting". The UFC doesnt even own the mark "Ultimate". Ubi could have the sentence "Create the ultimate weapon by learning different fighting styles" and the UFC would have no leg to stand on here. Ubi chose to use the term "Ultimate Fighting".

To use your "Fascinating Cakes" example, lets say you own that mark and have made it world famous. Everyone in the world knows your cakes by that mark. Lets say I have a cake shop called "Aaron's Cakes" and I make similar cakes. Now on one of my promotional ads I have the slogan "Aaron's Cakes - Where you can find the most fascinating cakes in the world!"

My argument would be that I'm using the word "fascinating" to describe my cakes. Your argument would be that I'm using your mark to either associate my shop with your shop and I'm purposely creating consumer confusion. You would have the stronger argument. 1) Your mark is world famous especially in the cake world so I cant claim that I had no knowledge of your mark. 2) Proving customer confusion wont be difficult, all I need is one or two examples of people thinking that my shop was affiliated with yours because of the mark. 3. There are several other words I could have used to describe my cakes without referencing a world famous mark.

I never said descriptive words were off limits. I'm not claiming the UFC can prevent anyone from using the word ultimate. I'm stating that they can prevent anyone from using the mark "Ultimate Fighting" in a trademark manner. Its pretty clear that Ubi intended to use those to have customers believe that the game was affiliated with the UFC (Doesnt mean the game has to have its roster, just that its connected in some way to the UFC).
Well I agree with everything you posted here with the exception that they intended to confuse the public in to thinking there was a UFC connection. It just doesn't read that way to me.

But hey everything is marketing these days so I could see where there would be an issue here. Just not sold yet that its a legit issue.
 
# 18 BOSsTOwN @ 12/13/10 06:26 PM
this is rediculous. so they are saying no one can use the term "ultimate fighter"
 
# 19 mgoblue @ 12/14/10 05:08 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by aholbert32
You are 100 percent wrong. The UFC owns the "Ultimate Fighting" trademark. The Ubisoft game clearly uses the mark in that description and it is clearly trading off the fame and familiarity of the mark and the UFC name. Its pretty clear trademark infringement.
Yeah, and if the UFC doesn't defend their trademark then (I believe, I may be wrong) they could lose the exclusivity of it....that's why so many companies defend patents, trademarks, copyrights, etc...
 
# 20 Scoop_Brady @ 12/15/10 11:05 AM
Question to the guys who see nothing wrong with this; do you honestly believe that whoever at Ubisoft came up with the description on the back of the box had no intention of trying to capitalize off of the UFC's success and popularity when they decided to use (and use in all caps mind you) the words ULTIMATE FIGHTING on the back of the box?
 

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