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"Gaymer" Trademarked?

gaymer.org

There's quite the spirited debate going on over at the Gaymer.org forums at the moment over the fact that site owner Chris Vizzini has applied for a trademark of the word "gaymer." It should be stated that Chris is not trademarking the word in a capacity that would make it unusable by anyone, but rather protecting its use from other online entities that might seek to make profit from his hard work and rightfully so. Having started up this site out of my own pocket, I wouldn't want anyone infringing on my property either.

On the other hand, opponents of the attempt are bothered by the fact that Gaymer.org and Chris Vizzini would then have control over the word's use in any form as a web entity. For instance, if a person decided to start a site called finalfantasygaymers.com, they could possibly have action taken against them. I think this is also a valid point. Should one person have control over the use of a blanket term that many people like to use to describe themselves be it online or in real life? For me, it's not a term I care to use to describe myself, but I know that many people feel very strongly about it.

Personally, I can see both sides of the argument and I would be hard pressed to take sides on this particular subject. What I find most disturbing about this whole situation is the divide it seems to have caused within our little community. There are only a handful of sites out there that cater to gaming for the LGBT community and as a group I wish that, for lack of a better cliche, we could all just get along. I know there are many people that frequent our site who are members of both Gaymer.org and GamersExperimentations and I am all for that. I wish there was someway we could combine them all together in one big, happy, rainbow filled, pink glitter sprinkled family, but situations like this really seem to cause people to draw their lines in the sand.

So what is your opinion? Should the term "gaymer" be trademarked for online use?

19 Comments

MuddBstrd said:

I think him trademarking the word 'gaymer' is a step too far. I can understand him protecting certain uses of the word, such as t-shirt designs, logos, etc. But the word in all uses on the web?

Also, when did Chris start this site? I know I've seen the word 'gaymer' used in other forms as far back as 2001.

Mikey said:

Here is a list of the trademark applications for gaymer:

Go here and search for 'gaymer'

http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/gate.exe?f=searchss&state=j8stkv.1.1

Mikey said:

According to the USPTO, Chris claims it was first used 05/26/2003. I suspect Gaymer Hard Cider might take exception to this too. I have no problem with him trademarking gaymer.org and his logo, but the word gaymer is overly broad even if I don't use it to describe myself. However, it may be a case of his attorney being overzealous.

jayoshi said:

yeah this has been a debate on the gaymer.org forum... i back up chris 100 percent... i know that it is not cheap to run a site and to keep it up and going... esp since he doesn't get paid for it... and he doesn't want to get paid... he wants a community for everyone to enjoy... he has put in over $1200 into his site and forum and takes great pride in it... someone could make a gaymer.com and charge for what he is doing... and having a membership charge to join the forum and then they would be making money off what he is giving for free to his community by also using the gaymer word and that would be a little unfair don't you think? i'm all for him to get gaymer trademarked as online service

oh and yeah... the world will end too when it gets trademarked

MuddBstrd said:

Jayoshi::

That's called 'competition'. It's this little thing that runs a free market economy, which predominates in the Western world and on the Internet.

Also, think about it like this: you have a free gaymer.org and a for-a-fee gaymer.com. Which site are you going to join? The free one or the one where you have to pay?

It seems more reasonable that Chris should trademark 'gaymer.org' for use on all merchandise and other intellectual and physical property. However, especially since I highly doubt he is the one who invented the word 'gaymer', he shouldn't be copyrighting the word itself.

raindog said:

I'm all for him getting the trademark if it'll reduce the use of that dumb word. Now "gaymer" will mean "someone who frequents gaymer.org", and not "a synonym for gay gamer".

Of course, if you guys filed for a trademark and then sued someone who made a site like "gaywiigamers.com", rest assured that I would be on the Internet within minutes, registering my disgust throughout the world.

Hydra said:

He claimed he first USED the term gaymer at the said date, NOT it was first used/created/whatnot.

I've talked to Chris about the issue and he said that if someone did want to make a web entity and not some profit making company that has no relation whatsoever with gay, gaming, or gay-gaming, he would be more than glad to allow it. His biggest concern is that some company trademarks is and forces anyone who wishes to make the web entity to buy it from them at a ridiculous cost.

After hacking and spam bot incidents I've seen in over 3 gay gaming and geek sites and forums over the past year, I have considered such worst-case scenario a possibility.

Yes, in some eyes, it CAN be seen as a questionable and possibly selfish act, but one must consider the person, ask the person for the reason why he did it, and any worse scenarios before you start going on the offence.

The history of hostility between both gaming forums doesn't exactly help either (and can ALMOST be accounted as one of the reasons why this messy scuffle).

Again, I understand and warrant the reaction... but from the initial approach of the opposition (from the look of it right now, Raynes of GamerEx didn't even ask Chris first to find out why he did it, but instead he went on the offensive immediately by sending in the petition to cancel the trademark).

I would like to believe that GamerEx's intention is a honest and good one... but it is really hard to believe it considering they did a first strike/retaliation without as much as a warning.

I think we should try to see both sides of the bigger picture along with the smaller ones instead of seeing only one side of an argument. And the more I see into this, the more I see a sliver of personal grudge coming from opposition.

But that's just me. So... *shrug*

jayoshi said:

well you don't know that he didn't make up the word... in fact i don't... a lot don't... so if you didn't make up the word whats it to you? if gaymer gets trademarked... and you want to make a website for gay gamers... then just make it like finalfantasygaygamer.com? god forbid you have to fully spell it out... gaygamer won't be trademarked (if you are going to use that argument).. because its two words... gay isnt trademarked... and gamer isn't either... i mean i can understand the whole apocalypse will happen once its trademarked... but other than that... who really cares? chris has done an awesome job for our community *including gaygamer.net can't forget about you guys ;) * but i found out about this site from gaymer.org... and if it wasn't for gaymer.org then i wouldn't have many friends to play with on xbox live... only homophobes in random GoW games... because my local flesh friends don't like to play video games like me (or the kinds i like).

Lysander said:

This is Lysander, a mod over at Gamers.experimentations.org.

Please note that one person's actions does not represent a site as a whole. There a many people who are more than willing to try and pit gaymer.org against us and it does really sadden me.

There are many sides to this situation, and I do believe that both sides are trying to do what they see as right. I have no grudge against gaymer.org, nor does anyone who helps run Gamers Ex. It does no one any good to keep up that idea or to spread it around further. We fully understand that not every site, not every community is for everyone and we are glad that Gaymer.org, Gay Gamer.net and us all exist out there to meet people's needs. Each offers a place where people can call home, and that is excellent.

The trademark does have some merit and some worries as well, as clearly posted in the original article here, and in the end I hope it works out best for all.

- Greg/Lysander

Xian said:

For copyrighting, registering gaymer.org would be just wonderful and would protect his service he has created and all the work he put into it. Just like the people who created gay.com.

Copyrighting the term "gaymer" would be akin to copyrighting the term "gay"; it's stupid. It's a common (relatively speaking) portmanteau used by the community as a whole, not the intellectual property of an individual.

Mikey said:

Okay, I just read the thread over at gaymer.org

http://www.gaymer.org/newforum/index.php?showtopic=15073

Like Fruit Brute, I can see both sides of the argument. I'm not sure I understand he's reasoning since he says, "...I run a site for 4 years in which i make nothing off of? (nor do I want to)...", but he is certainly within his rights to apply for a trademark.

jayoshi said:

my main thing is i dont know how its going to affect the average you and me... you know all of us... in fact its not going to affect any of us... chris isn't going to say "NO YOU CAN'T MAKE THAT SITE CAUSE I OWN THE TERM GAYMER!!!!" in fact he is trying to protect the gaymer name... something no one else has done or is really... i guess... willing to do

Mikey said:

@raindog: We have considered trademarking our logo and typesetting of gaygamer.net, but we decided against trademarking gaygamer. Now I would be upset if someone came along and trademarked gaygamers, so maybe we should reconsider, but until my attorney friend suggests it, it's unlikely to happen.

tiny dancer said:

I agree with almost everybody here to some extent. Trademarking a logo makes perfect sense. Trademarking a slang word or portmanteau seems like a stretch, but I have a hard time getting myself worked up over it - "gaymer" isn't a word I ever use personally, and trademarks on words like "Band-Aid" and "Kleenex" don't stop anyone from using them in a practical sense: they just stop some jackanape from starting up "kleenex.org" on his own, right?

Whether or not the justification for the trademark (running a site out of his own pocket and not making any money, which is at the very least something we at GayGamer can relate to) is valid, or the trademark application is valid, seems beside the point: as long as gay gamers, gaymers, experimental gamers, queer gamers, bottom-mashing button-mashers, dance dance revolutionaries and other gamers-who-also-identify-as-non-heterosexual keep coming together on sites like GayGamer, GamersEx, or Gaymer.org, we're good. If we let the ebb and flow of business and legality divide our communities (as opposed to fostering debate between communities, which is different), then we're not good.

We've enjoyed a great relationship and overlap with the GamersEx guys since their tremendously warm welcome in SF for GDC (and maybe before, so far as I know), but we haven't had as much contact with gaymer.org. It's situations like this that highlight, to me, the need for interconnectivity between the online gay gaming communities. There will always be rivalries and competition, that's the way of the world and no trademark application can void that reality; that said, I hope everyone involved has the gay gaming community's best interest at heart and that we can keep our competitions friendly - and, hopefully, our lines of communication open.

Mythology said:

Trademarking a word is bad juu-juu, I mean, it kinda gives the person a bit of literary control. It's like Adobe's Lawyers trying to get everyone to stop using the term "photoshopping" as a verb.

He should design a specific logo for his site and trademark that instead.

Deuce said:

I agree with Mythology.

For the record, sites don't make money by having the users pay fees... that's just retarded. They make money through advertisements and outbound links. I've always wondered why this site doesn't have any advertisements, but honestly I don't care.

Companies like adobe ruin it for everyone. They trademark and copyright the dumbest crap, and they patent the stupidest code. I believe they went as far as patenting some stupid window design, and then sued Macromedia for using it way back when. Sad thing is that MANY developers were also using this 'original' concept.

The word gaymer is not original.

jayoshi said:

but would you rather it be a fellow gay gamer who got a trademark on this game... who doesn't own a business (that i know of) or some big company getting to it first (not that would really happen) i would rahter have a fellow gay gamer trademarking that word

DCGaymer said:

I was the person who originally found the USPTO word mark application in the TESS database and wanted to expose the issue to the gaymer.org community at large. Don't get me wrong...I don't dislike Chris, and I believe he's been an incredible asset to GLBT gaymer's but it simply seemed wrong to me that one person should control the term for a market segment of gay gamers’ and enthusiast's as it relates to online communities

Rather than discuss this issue anywhere else I went directly to his site…not the Blogosphere, not the gaming sites, not the guild sites or any other media. I was hopeful that there could be a constructive discussion of an internal matter. Today I read on his board's that he’s not interested in discussing it anymore. I’m sorry we disagree on the issue but good people can disagree within any given family.

So people will understand the issue…please read the public application first…This is what he seeks to control.

"Goods and Services IC 042. US 100 101. G & S: Computer services, namely, creating an online community for registered users to participate in competitions, showcase their skills, get feedback from their peers, form virtual communities, engage in social networking and improve their talent; Computer services, namely, hosting and maintaining an online website for others to discuss, receive and disseminate information concerning video games; Computer services, namely, hosting on-line web facilities for others for organizing and conducting online meetings, gatherings, and interactive discussions. FIRST USE: 20030526. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20030526"

Respectfully, I disagree that he and he alone should have control of who uses the term "Gaymer" as it relates to Computer services and online gaming communities. If granted no one could register any name using the term gaymer in it, Gaymerdate.com, Gaymerlove.com guygaymers.com, girlgaymers.com....no one but Chris. That simply seem's wrong to me.

As I've said before on gaymer.org and I'll say here...should he decide to withdraw his application and re-file for gaymer.org as a word mark...I'll be the first person to contribute to a fund to help offset the expenses.

We want to see Chris succeed but not at the expense of losing control of the logical contraction for the term gay and gamer. Gaymer.org should belong to only Chris, but Gaymer, should belong to all gay gamers communities and businesses entities.

raindog said:

For what it's worth, here's a reference to someone using the term on Usenet in 1997:

http://groups.google.com/group/rec.games.computer.ultima-dragons/msg/c6c5d605ef0aefcc

Not that you need to have coined a term to try to trademark it, but I'm thinking he didn't coin the term.

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