"On Monday, March 23, we received a letter from United Business Media (UBM)(link: http://tinyurl.com/cgl3zr ), claiming that we were violating their 'intellectual property rights' by promoting our 'upcoming gaming event'.
"But what apparently has UBM's legal department in a tizzy is that we listed an overseas partner -- Howell Expo's China Game Developers Conference -- on our website.
"First off, a little clarification about our relationships with our partners: These are usually, but not always, media companies that we have decided to exchange some good will with. Sometimes this means that we exchange free passes to LOGIN for some guaranteed press; other times we'll exchange a sponsorship package for an in-kind marketing piece. This is fairly typical for the event industry, and important for us as we don't have a 'go-it-alone' attitude. In the specific case of Howell Expo, they approached us and asked if we would be willing to cooperate in helping find speakers for their event, and they would help with speakers from China for LOGIN. Howell Expo also runs one of the largest game exposition events in the world -- ChinaJoy. We were happy to partner with them, as they totally 'get' online games, and China is one of the largest markets in the world for our attendees.
"Although UBM's legal staff seems to be a bit confused about our upcoming LOGIN conference versus Howell Expo's event, their complaint primarily revolves around the use of the terms 'GDC' and 'Game Developers Conference'. A little over a year ago, CMP (now Think Services, a division of UBM) began trademarking everything related to GDC and the words "Game Developer" and sending out threatening letters. This is why we initially changed our conference name from 'OGDC'. We were quite willing to do so as we felt any association with CMP's conference actually devalued our brand. In this particular case, Howell claims that they own the rights to China GDC, and that Think Services is attempting to run GDC-China without authorization from CGDC (link: http://en.chinajoy.net/html/Article/2009/0319/20090319122025427.html ).
"Our position is that the term 'game developer' existed as a generic expression long before UBM began using it for their conference, and it is a descriptive term, not a brand name. However, being in the right and being able to prove it legally are two very different things. UBM has indicated that they are willing to peruse 'legal remedies', and I have no doubt that they are willing to engage in lawsuits to prove that they own 'Game Developer Conference', 'Game Developer Magazine', and pretty much anything else with the words 'game' and 'developer' in it.
"We are going to comply with UBM's demands and remove CGDC from our website. I presume that UBM is going to send similar 'cease and desist' letters to anyone else who partners with Howell Expo ( http://en.chinajoy.net/html/Article/2009/0326/20090326162548964.html ). We're not happy about doing this, but we feel our highest priority is to provide a quality event to our attendees. This means that we run LOGIN essentially in 'break-even' mode; all the revenue from the conference, aside from small operational costs, goes to services for the attendees. This is why we are able to offer such exceptional value to everyone at LOGIN. I suppose if we were willing to over-charge and under-deliver, we could hire a large legal staff to defend against every 800 pound gorilla as well as offer big bonuses to ourselves. But that's just not the way we're interested in doing business. LOGIN is a labor of love, and we want you to think of it as your event as much as ours.
"Conversely, the next time you hear an event being claimed as the 'official' event of the games industry, think about how much you valuable independent and unique voices, and consider the price of silencing them."
The spokesman of CGDC, Mr. Tan Yunpeng comments on behalf of the organizing committee that: "We do understand our partner -- LOGIN's activity is under certain stress given by "a 800 pound gorilla" and we very much appreciate our partner in helping us with a lot of PR work in promoting CGDC in the US which enable us in attracting further attention from the industry. I am also delighted in seeing response from our competitor keep trouble us and trying prevent us launching CGDC in July. I know CGDC is going to be one big "deathful strike" on their global plan."
Mr. Tan continues: "Facing the situation that some overseas organizations are trying to interfere the cooperation between CGDC and our partners, we would like to clarify that the phrase, "Game Developers Conference" is a generic description. These words do not belong to anybody, and that being in the right and being able to prove it legally are two very different things. We are very much against this kind of behavior, at the same time we are in doubt about UBM's claim on the ownership of the words 'game' and 'developer'."
Mr. Tan explains that with the rapid development of the China Online game market and the notable potential of the industry, more and more Chinese game companies are now looking into partnerships with overseas development team and game studios to extend their business overseas. CGDC that holds in conjunction with ChinaJoy will definitely attract more professionals worldwide to join these two events in July, and these two platforms are going to bring double value for the audience. At this moment, CGDC has started recruiting speakers and call for papers, and would once again like to call on all the talents in game development to submit their abstracts to get a chance to speak at CGDC2009. (links: http://www.chinagdc.com.cn/en/news_show.asp?id=132 ).
For more information about CGDC, please visit http://www.chinagdc.com.cn
For further information please visit our home page: http://www.chinagdc.com.cn/en/index.asp
For more information, please contact: Conference content: Ms. Cecillia Cao Tel: +86-10-5165-9355 ext. 12 Fax: +86-10-8773-2633 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Media Contact: Mr. Yunpeng Tan Tel: +86-10-5165-9355 ext. 19 Fax: +86-10-8773-2633 Email: email@example.com Sponsorship Contact: Mr. Shawn Luan Tel: +86-10-5165-9355 ext. 22 Fax: +86-10-8773-2633 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Ms. Stella Peng Tel: +86-10-5165-9355 ext. 16 Fax: +86-10-8773-2633 Email: email@example.com Mr. Calvin Li Tel: +86-10-5165-9355 ext. 31 Fax: +86-10-8773-2633 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org