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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Update - HeroQuest 25th Anniversary Project Pulled Down by Kickstarter Because of Cease & Desist Order From Moon Design


thanks to +Tor Traumann for the latest official statement from Gamezone:
Please bear with us. Gamezone and Moon Design are in a meeting negotiating a settlement for both parts at this time. 
Moon Design believes that their interests in the HEROQUEST brand within the USA will be infringed upon. Although we are not distributing or selling our product in US territory. As a precaution Moon Design presented a C/D on the 27th of Nov. Our talks are coming to a point where the negotiation will benefit all those involved, which finally would let us offer our product in stores in the USA sometime next year. 
The Moon Design C/D was suspended, but on the table, as another element in the negotiation. Here at Gamezone it is our hopeful understand that its activation is possibly by error as both parties where coming to an agreement. Said agreement would finally end beneficially for Fans in the USA by opening the physical distribution to stores in that country. This brief pause of activity is as harmful to the interests of Moon Design as it is to Gamezone Miniatures. 
We are as surprised as the Heroquest community, we didn’t expect that on Thanksgiving, of all days, to be wrapped up in this mess, that is so disagreeable for everyone involved. On a day such as this it is extremely complicated to get in touch with Moon Design. We are working diligently on a solution so we can continue with the project from where it is at the moment and reinforce it for the future.
I don't see this as harmful in the least to Moon Design. I'm sure they see the monies flowing into the Kickstarter and want a nice sized chunk of it for the use of their trademark. As for the following statement: "Moon Design believes that their interests in the HEROQUEST brand within the USA will be infringed upon. Although we are not distributing or selling our product in US territory." - Gamezone is selling to US customers directly through Kickstarter.

In any case, it will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

6 comments:

  1. No way!!!! Game Zones idea of due diligence is apparently asking the local barkeep to run an IP check in-between rounds.

    I especially love the "we're not selling in the US" bit. No that's exactly what the fuck you are doing, you are just being shady and trying to skirt IP law. Any court in the world wouldn't accept their bullshit. When you are translating to English and posting your crap on a site that sells to America, you are obviously going out of your way to sell your product in the US.

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  2. I almost certainly firmly believe it's Moon Design (over)zealously protecting the trademark. I'm only going on gut feeling here and the almost palpable joy that flowed through the Gloranthan community after the trademark was 'reclaimed' for 2003's at-long-last publication of Heroquest. I've been trying to find comments I thought Greg Stafford had made about some of the shenanigans that happened back in the day with the trademark and GW/MB. I might have imagined them at this point.

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  3. Yeah HeroQuest by MB was going to be heroes war or some such due to the name being taken already for Hero Quest.

    The blatant attempt to skirt the letter of the law is what is dooming this one though. They have rights to the name in Spain and that is it. this will run into trouble everywhere I'm guessing.

    A company has to protect it's trademark, each and every time it is challenged or they loose the ability to defend it. This is a close enough product for trademark to stick. We are not talking cars and telephones here. The products are both games.

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  4. I'm with the Degenerate Elite here (nice name BTW). A company has to protect its IP, it's not about "monies"!

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  5. This is Moon Design's take on the situation:
    Background concerning suspension of Gamezone’s Kickstarter campaign

    We want to give some background on the dispute surrounding Gamezone’s Kickstarter campaign to launch a remake of the hybrid board game/roleplaying game originally published by Milton Bradley called “Heroquest”.

    Last week, Moon Design petitioned Kickstarter to remove the crowdfunding campaign for Gamezone’s “Heroquest” game. “Heroquest” is the registered US trademark of Moon Design and is the name of our “Heroquest” roleplaying game and assorted products. To allow a game using the same name to be promoted in the United States through Kickstarter without a license would be an unacceptable dilution of our brand and create market confusion to our detriment.

    The trademark “Heroquest” is registered by Francis Greg Stafford with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (Registration Number 4082281) for use in game book manuals. Moon Design Publications LLC has the exclusive license for use of that trademark. For some time now we have been working on creating a board game called “Heroquest” pertaining to the mythology of Glorantha and an updated version of our Heroquest roleplaying game.

    The project by Gamezone, a Spanish game company, proposes to remake a role-playing/board game originally produced by Milton Bradley and Games Workshop in 1989. The project calls their game “Heroquest” which is identical to our registered mark and easily confused with it.

    Gamezone initially asked us for use of the Heroquest trademark on July 31, 2013. The next day we asked them if they could provide us with a copy of any written agreement with Hasbro to produce a 25th Anniversary Edition of Hasbro’s board game. Gamezone did not provide us with any written confirmation (and as of this date still has not done so). On August 26, 2013, we informed Gamezone by email that we must decline their request.

    Despite being explicitly refused permission to use our trademark, Gamezone went ahead and launched this Kickstarter. As a New York State corporation, Kickstarter is subject to US trademark laws and the use of our trademark in the campaign was a violation of those laws.We told Gamezone that they needed to immediately get a licensing agreement from us (which, among other things, would require that they pay us for the rights to the name since it would mean foregoing our opportunity to release our game using our trademark and to compensate us for that lost revenue).

    Gamezone did not get back to us within the period we set, and rather than have this end up in litigation (which could also bring in other parties with IP at stake), we asked Kickstarter to suspend the campaign. We then spoke to Gamezone informing them that we had certain non-negotiable demands for any license agreement, among them a statement that Gamezone has explicit permission from Hasbro to make this game based on their IP. Gamezone has assured us that they can get such permission, but until we see confirmation, we cannot responsibly license our trademark to be used in this Kickstarter campaign.

    We sympathize with the fans of the Milton Bradley game who enthusiastically supported this project. We strongly support Kickstarter and the revitalization of old games with a loyal following. However, such activities must be done with the consent of the trademark holder and of any other legal owners of the property.

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