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View Full Version : Mythic (makers of DAoC) sue Microsoft



Ciarin
December 23rd, 2003, 01:01 AM
http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/031222/lam010_1.html


-- Mythic Entertainment, developer and publisher of the award-winning massively multiplayer online role-playing game "Dark Age of Camelot®," and many other popular online games, announced that it has filed a lawsuit against Microsoft Corporation for trademark infringement and unfair competition.--


I think it'll be tough to beat microsoft. I wish them luck. It seems they have a case from what I understand. The game, "Mythica" is a lot like the "Mythic" brand name. They're only suing for trademark infringment but I've heard that the game works pretty much like DAoC. I.E. you start out in a general class and at level 5 you choose a god and become a specialized class. It's based on Norse myth, like Midgard in DAoC. except they change around the gods with certain classes.

rayfinkle
December 23rd, 2003, 01:07 AM
I hope Mythic wins this case.

Landsknecht
December 23rd, 2003, 01:14 AM
I don't. If Mythic wins this case it would set a bad precedent. Going soley on what Ciarin has said, it ranks up there with Hasbro suing every space based shoot em up saying they were "similar in structure" to astroids.

Frankly, it sounds like they don't intend to win. A Trademark only has legal grounds if it is defended. This looks like Mythic's token defence for the possible future time when they may HAVE to defend against a real infringement. Having this suit on record shows that they have a vested interest in the trademark.

ykkir
December 23rd, 2003, 02:43 AM
I hope they win too, Microsoft is evil, or at least mean (their lawyers and head honchos anyway)
On another note, the article mentions Aliens online, Godzilla online and a Starship troopers game, I've never even heard of any of the three, but a Godzilla online game would be umm interesting

Dragonel
December 23rd, 2003, 03:42 AM
Landsknecht- A precident for what? For being able to sue because someone gives their game your name?

The idea of growth through classes is hardly unique, you see it in FFXI, Ragnorok Online, Priston Tales, and I'm sure if we dug we could find more. Nor is the idea of ripping off an existing culture for a fantasy setting new. Nor is the name "Mythic."

Individual similarities by themselves don't really mean a lot in lawsuits like this, but when you put them all together, it very much looks like Microsoft is trying to take advantage of Mythic's intellectual property. If it goes to court, I certainly would hope Mythic would win, in part because it's good to see the rights of creative minds upheld, and in part because Mythic has worked hard to establish name recognition within the industry, and they didn't do that work for Microsoft's benefit.

There is, I'm sure, another bright side. There's been surprisingly little change in the MMOG genre over the years. Tweaks here and there, to be certain, but EQ, DAoC, AO, and FFXI all play more or less the same. WoW is looking like it too is going to be pretty similiar. With only minor variations to establish differences between games, putting law on the books that says "You need x degrees of dissimilarity before you're stepping on someone else's IP" isn't such a bad thing. Enforcing creativity, as it were.

Regardless, I sort of doubt that this will reach court. Even as we speak, Microsoft's Lawyers are probably already hammering out a list of minor changes (most prominently a name change) that may or may not be possible to impliment, to make Mythic just shut up and go away. Sure, Microsoft can throw enough money at just about any problem to make it go away, but the American legal system is none too fond of them at the moment, so a trip to court is probably the last thing they want.

Landsknecht
December 23rd, 2003, 04:07 AM
It's a bad precedent because that leads to similar lawsuits. If they win this one, what's to keep them from suing fictional game X called, "Myths of Fantasy" or how bout the entire series of books by Robert Aspirin? And they did not give the game the same name, but a similar one.

However, Mythic is going to be hard pressed to win this one as the word Myth or Mythic is such a generic term. Sorta like when the Hoover company tried to sue a competitor in England. The word Hoover had become synonomous with vacuum cleaners and was used by a competitor in an ad. But the word had become so ingrained into the society in that generic use that Hoover company LOST the suit. I see the same thing happening here, the word is simply to generic.

Ciarin
December 23rd, 2003, 04:15 AM
McDonald's managed to put out of business a small scottish shop named Mcdonald's in England. Even though it was based on their last name, McDonald's corporation won.

I think it's funny because the head of the McDonald's clan is the only one who can give permission for use of the name, and the McDonald's corporation uses it anyway. I think the only reason they used that name in the beginning was because it was better than Kroc's.

Landsknecht
December 23rd, 2003, 04:22 AM
In that situation it was all about the money. McDonald's is such a massive enterprise, far larger than most people even fathom, that there is almost no way to win if they levelled their sights at you. Even if Mythic was on par with Microsoft financially, and their not, they would still most likely lose this case. As it is, Microsoft will most likely deal with it outside of court simply out of expediency.

Kallisti
December 23rd, 2003, 05:52 AM
Mythic MAY be a generic word, but so is Windows and Microsoft owns that word when used in any marketing or corporate sense.

You have to understand that words CAN be owned by companies in certain contexts.

As for game comparisons, TSR put Games Workshop out of buisiness in a case involving the Dangerous Journeys Game (developed by Gary Gygax) because the court decided it was too much like AD7D because it used the tersm "hit points", "level", "classes" and had a similar gameplay to... well just about any other fantasy role-playing game. However since Lawyers and Judges are not usually RPGers who can tell the difference between Ad&D, Rolemaster, Runequest etc etc it was decided that the new game was so much liek AD&D it constituted a copyright infringement.

In fact this was TSR trying to ruin Gary Gygax. Well thankfully TSR are no more and wizards of the Coast now own AD&D...

Kat
December 23rd, 2003, 06:30 AM
I don't think I'll ever understand how Microsoft is "evil". Commiting genocide is evil. Making a software company, no matter how "unfair" you may feel their business practices, can hardly be called "evil."

I hope they do not win the case either. I am so tired of time and energy being put into frivilous lawsuits. Mythic has been in use as a word long before Mythic was a company. Shall I make a resteraunt called "Hamburger" and begin to sue other establishments for copyright infringement because they are advertising and selling hamburgers, and they make them almost exactly the way I do?

/sigh

Naelaen
December 23rd, 2003, 06:34 AM
Because they demand lots of money which people don't like paying. I personally have no beef with microsoft *hides microsoft XP, intellimouse explorer and keyboard*

Coffee
December 23rd, 2003, 08:52 AM
Shall I make a resteraunt called "Hamburger" and begin to sue other establishments for copyright infringement because they are advertising and selling hamburgers, and they make them almost exactly the way I do?

/sigh

Hm...I rather like that idea! I may try that one of these days. Except the reverse is what's happening. Someone made a restaurant called Hamburger and someone who has been making hamburgers is sueing them. Still bizzarre either way you look at it.

And I don't think Microsquish is evil really, but we used to have laws about monopolies, and anti-trust legislation. Teddy is probably turning over in his grave by now.

Arishia
December 23rd, 2003, 09:25 AM
Kallisti said:
As for game comparisons, TSR put Games Workshop out of buisiness in a case involving the Dangerous Journeys Game

Er? They did? Games Workshop is still alive and kicking when last I checked. They're not even known for their pen and paper games, they're known for turn based miniature games more than anything else. In fact, I'm surprised they never sued Warcraft for the alarming similarities it has to Warhammer Fantasy. =)

In fact, here's their website: http://www.games-workshop.com/

copasnece
December 23rd, 2003, 09:28 AM
I don't hate microsoft, i mean i'm using their products so i obviously can't hate them. Even though there is very little out there to buy besides microsoft.

But i sort of think of this as a way to stand up against the bully in school. Even if you know your going to get beat up, or even if its over something that may seem small and petty to the rest of the school, your still standing up for yourself.

I mean obviously its not ALL about money, i mean if it were, i dont think Mythic would be stupid enough to sue Microsoft. I mean honestly the chances of winning are slim to known.

Just my opinion.

EQGuy17286
December 23rd, 2003, 09:33 AM
Mythic is in the legal right here. You cannot use a name which is very similar to a direct competitor in the same Market.

The Hambuger analogy is close, but off a bit. It would be like me starting a company called McDonals that made fast food. You bet McDonalds would sue, because my name would be way to close to thiers.

Now if I made McDonals and we did say, dry cleaning, there would probly be no issue.

MS is trying essentialy the same thing, releaseing a game, with a title (Mythica) that except for one letter (Mythic) matches the name of a competitive company, in the same market (MMOGs). In fact, on some boards there has already been some confusion on who the title is from, considering that similar lore is shared by the two games.

There may be a little grey area, since one is a company name and the other is a game name, but leagaly, they have a case. Odds are they also have very good precedence, you don't just run in half cocked against the MS legal team and bankroll without some good backup.

Couple things to keep in mind:

1. They asked them to change it, and probly in several firm we are going to sue you if you don't and this is why ways.
2. I'd never heard of Mythica before this lawsuit, talk about free publicity.
3. Their MS, they can afford to be stubborn.
4. Having your competitors burn money on legal fees is better than them spending it in R&D.

Filan Fyretracker
December 23rd, 2003, 09:41 AM
difference is Mythic is based on a common word, Myth. meaning if this case goes through it leaves room for lots of other similar suits. im siding with MS on this cause Mythic should have choosin a name for their company that wasnt so close to a common word then sue someone when they make a game that just happens to also be based on myths and have myth in the name.

EvilIguana966
December 23rd, 2003, 09:48 AM
Microsoft is where they are today because their products, flawed though they may be, are miles beyond anything else on the market. Linux isnt user friendly, and Mac is incompatible with everything and even MORE expensive. From there MS has free reign over the market with their other products. Their peripherals are all reasonably priced to match the competition, and all excellent devices.

As far as Mythic vs Mythica, seems like just a nuisance lawsuit. No real point.

Kat
December 23rd, 2003, 10:00 AM
But as someone said, it IS generating a lot of press.
And I'll add the buzz brings BOTH titles exposure.

Niladen
December 23rd, 2003, 11:57 AM
Considering the proper name is Mythic Entertainment, and the name of the auspisious title is Mythica I don't see any grounds for trademark or copyright infringment. Just because the common reference is Mythic doesn't mean that it is the legal name. Now, if MS decided to create a sister company called Mythica Entertainment, eh, maybe then they (sic) would have grounds to have MS change that company name.

Edit: articles

Rhiamon Fatesealer
December 23rd, 2003, 12:38 PM
I disagree with the statement about "they shouldn't have picked such a generic name". Obviously the government agency that handles trademarks (I forget which one that is) felt that it was unique enough to be trademarked. A lot of companies have names that include generic words. That doesn't give another company a right to use their name.

Would it be any different if I went and made a MMORPG called "Blizzarda"? No, I don't think that anyone is going to think that Mythica is the same as DAoC. But it is possible that someone might think Mythica is put out by Mythic, and buy the game based on that.

Nex
December 23rd, 2003, 02:07 PM
MS is/has sued to protect it's TM'd product name Windows before. If someone is going to argue that windows is unique I'll laugh then cry ;)

MCW
December 23rd, 2003, 02:16 PM
it looks like a lot of people want Microsoft to lose this, I've never had a problem with Microsoft.

W. Gates could be a lot worse, and people call him evil anyways.

I hope Microsoft wins this.

Ciarin
December 23rd, 2003, 02:25 PM
He may not be truly evil, but I bet mostly everybody who saw it laughed their asses off when they shot him in South Park the Movie.

ROFL!

Dragonel
December 23rd, 2003, 10:50 PM
Sheesh, Woody's (hilarious) comic aside, I don't think Bill Gates even really factors into the equation- Whether or not he's a good man (He's not, really, his entire company is founded on stolen intellectual property) isn't relevant. What's relevant is- Why did MS name it's game Mythica? Is the name "Mythic" so generac it's devoid of copyright values?

Personally, I would take a moment to plumb your accumulated knowledge of fantasy, and ask how many games/fantasy novels/movies have had the name Myth, Mythic, or Mythica. I believe there was one videogame named Myth (a series, actually, a dark and brooding game quite different from the MMOG), and the aformentioned Myth-adventures series of novels (a farcical adventure series, also quite different from DAoC). Stack these against the thousands of titles that have been concocted by various minds, creative or otherwise, in the history of the High Fantasy or Swords and Sorcery genre, and I think it's pretty safe to say that if Mythic Entertainment want's to protect the cache their name has earned, they're fully within their rights to do so- There are *lots* of titles out there, some more forgettable than others.

There's always the question of Microsoft's intent, too. As the publisher of two previous MMOGs, and looking to take another crack at the genre, does it seem likely that they wouldn't be aware of who their primary competitors will be? Certainly they were aware that their latest MMOG, AC2, was crushed by Mythic Entertainment and SoE, so it's not as if they can reasonably claim that the had no clue they were treading on dangerous ground...

Which is really what it boils down to- When you're talking about a pond as small as this one, is it really particularly difficult to be your own fish? To do something distinctive from your, what, five? Six competitors? And Microsoft chose not to.

Someone mentioned the publicity angle, which raises an interesting point. It's the first I've heard of Mythica (and I'm actually a little intrigued, now). At the same time, by making a stink of it, Mythic Entertainment's neatly gotten their names plastered across most Electronic Entertainment media's headlines. So neither company can really be said to be acting out of anything but greed and self interest. That being the case, though, Mythic's still got a strong suit.

Landsknecht
December 23rd, 2003, 11:20 PM
I think it's funny that nobody has mentioned thother game here... There a game out called, simply, Myth. It's on it's 2nd sequel now, meaning Myth 3. Yet Mythic has not sued them. To me this looks like either a simple trademark strengthening issue where they don't expect to win and are mearly showing a defense for the record or... they are attempting to wrangle money out of Microsoft.

Akhamar
December 24th, 2003, 12:41 AM
"Myth: The fallen lords" was released in 1997 I think...I know it was old enough that it didn't support anything but 3dfx heh. I think they'd have trouble suing something so old, since it's older than thier game too. Myth also isn't a MMORPG :)

Interesting to note though that Bungie who made Myth are part of Microsoft ;)

Dragonel
December 24th, 2003, 01:59 AM
Yeah, I mentioned Myth, Land, though ask Akh pointed out, it pre-dates Mythic Entertainment, so such a case doesn't have any grounds.

Although Bungie could try and sue Mythic Entertainment, but such a case would be somewhat less tenible than ME's case against MS.

Points of similarity- Both are games with online capabilities, with 3d graphics, set in a high-fantasy world, revolving around the conflict of rival kingdoms.

Points of dissimilarity- One has SP content, the other is exclusively online. One allows the control of multiple units, the other allows the control of only one. One allows gradual character building, the other uses pre-defined values for each side in a skirmish. One draws heavily on Norse, Arthurian, and Celtic mythology, the other uses a mythos spun more or less whole-cloth, a dark fantasy world of its own creation.

If you compare one to the other, I don't think the two hold too much water. Furthermore, you'd have to try and show that Mythic Entertainment was trying to parlay the Myth franchise's name into marketability, which is difficult, since their big (and only?) game was published under the name "Dark Age of Camelot", notably without the word Myth in the title. Compare this to the case of Mythica, who'se name will no doubt be a prominent part of any advertising campaign Microsoft undertakes on its behalf (You can't sell a game without saying its name)...

So, yeah, stranger things have happened, I guess... But it makes a pretty good example of what you can and can't sue over (or rather, sue and win, since you can technically sue over just about anything)

Zarithar
December 26th, 2003, 07:27 PM
I love it how our country stresses and pushes people to strive for financial success... but when someone or some company gets REALLY successful then they are suddenly evil (Microsoft, Wal-Mart). The hypocrisy is sad to behold. Apparently no one likes a loser OR a winner... :roll:

Ciarin
December 26th, 2003, 07:46 PM
Wal-mart is evil.
They tried to brain wash me.

I had to smile all the time.

besides, business growth and prosperity is good. Monopolies are not.

Wolf
December 26th, 2003, 08:51 PM
I think this whole thing is stupid. Maybe if you had some weird name like Zombon and some one made a game Zombona then you could do something about it. But myth is such a common word that they shouldnt be able to sue over it. Why sue anyways? why not just ask them to change the name? Stupid laws letting people sue over stupid stuff. And if a game did come out called something like Blizzard Quest that Blizzard shouldnt be able to do anything about it. Its just a name. Man, humans are idiots.

Ciarin
December 26th, 2003, 08:59 PM
not all humans are idiots. Just collectively they seem to be.